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DEAYIDIAN ^^'^'^^ 








.Sec0nt( I5tiit{0n, Eeijiseti ant( lEnlargeti. 


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PL 4(o0 3 



It is now nearly nineteen years since the first edition of this book was 
published, aild a second edition ought to have appeared long ere this. 
The first edition was soon exhausted, and the desirableness of bringing 
out a second edition was often suggested to me. But as the book was 
a first attempt in a new field of research and necessarily very imper- 
fect, I could not bring myself to allow a second edition to appear with- 
out a thorough revision. It was evident, however, that the preparation 
of a thoroughly revised edition, with the addition of new matter 
wherever it seemed to be necessary, would entail upon me more labour 
than I was likely for a long time to be able to undertake. The duties 
devolving upon me in India left me very little leisure for extraneous 
work, and the exhaustion arising from long residence in a tropical 
climate left me very little surplus strength. For eleven years, in addi- 
tion to my other duties, I took part in the Kevision of the Tamil Bible, 
and after that great work had come to an end, it fell to my lot to take 
part for one year more in the Kevision of the Tamil Book of Common 
Prayer. I suffered also for some time from a serious illness of such a 
nature that it seemed to render it improbable that I should ever be 
able to do any literary work again. Thus year after year elapsed, and 
year after year the idea of setting myself to so laborious a task as that 
of preparing a second edition of a book of this kind grew more and 
more distasteful to me. I began to hope that it had become no longer 
necessary to endeavour to rescue a half-forgotten book from oblivion. 
At this juncture it was considered desirable that I should return for a 
time to my native land for the benefit of my health ; and at the same 
time I was surprised to receive a new and more urgent request that I 
should bring out a second edition of this book — for which I was 
informed that a demand still existed. Accordingly I felt that I had 
now no option left, and arrived reluctantly at the conclusion that as 
the first edition was brouglft out during the period of my first return 
to this country on furlough, so it had become necessary that the period 



of my second furlough should be devoted to the preparation and publi- 
cation of a second edition. 

The first edition — chiefly on account of the novelty of the under- 
taking — was received with a larger amount of favour than it appeared 
to me to deserve. I trust that this second edition, revised and en- 
larged, will be found more really deserving of favour. Though reluc- 
tant to commence the work, no sooner had I entered upon it than my 
old interest in it revived, and I laboured at it con amove. I have 
endeavoured to be accurate and thorough throughout, and to leave no 
difficulty unsolved, or at least uninvestigated ; and yet, notwithstand- 
ing all my endeavours, I am conscious of many deficiencies, and feel 
sure that I must have fallen into many errors. Of the various expres- 
sions of approval the first edition received, the one which gratified me 
most, because I felt it to be best deserved, was that it was evident I 
had treated the Dravidian languages " lovingly." I trust it will be 
apparent that I have given no smaller amount of loving care and 
labour to the preparation of this second edition. The reader must be 
prepared, however, to find that many of the particulars on which I 
have laboured most " lovingly," though exceedingly interesting to per- 
sons who have made the Dravidian languages their special study, 
possess but little interest for persons whose special studies lie in the 
direction of some other family of languages, or who are interested, not 
in the study of any one language or family of languages in particular, 
but only in philological studies in general, or in discussions respecting 
the origin of language in general. 

It is now more than thirty-seven years since I commenced the study 
of Tamil, and I had not proceeded far in the study before I came to the 
conclusion that much light might be thrown on Tamil by comparing it 
with Telugu, Canarese, and the other sister idioms. On proceeding to 
make the comparison I found that my supposition was verified by the 
result, and also, as it appeared to me, that Tamil imparted still more 
light than it received. I have become more and more firmly persuaded, 
as time has gone on, that it is not a theory, but a fact, that none of 
these languages can be thoroughly understood and appreciated without 
some study of the others, and hence that a Comparative Grammar of 
the Dravidian Languages may claim to be regarded not merely as 
something that is useful in its way, but as a necessity. 

I trust it will be found that I have not left much undone that seemed 
to be necessary for the elucidation of Tamil ; but I hope this branch of 
work will now be taken up by persons who have made Telugu, Canar- 
ese, Malayalam, or Tulu their special study, so that the whole range 
of the Dravidian languages and dialects may be fully elucidated. One 


desideratum at present seems to be a Comparative Vocabulary of the 
Dravidian Languages, distinguishing the roots found, say, in the 
four most distinctive languages — Tamil, Telugu, Canarese, and Malay- 
Mam — from those found only in three, only in two, or only in one. 
An excellent illustration of what may be done in this direction has 
been furnished by Dr Gundert, whose truly scientific " Dictionary of 
Malayalam " has given a fresh stimulus to Dravidian philology. An- 
other thing which has long appeared to me to be a desideratum is a 
more thorough examination of all the South Indian alphabets, ancient 
and modern,, with a careful comparison of them, letter by letter, not 
only with the alphabets of Northern India, ancient and modern, but 
also, and especially, with the characters found in ancient inscriptions 
in Ceylon, Java, and other places in the further East. It has been 
announced that a work on this subject, by Dr Burnell, M.C.S., entitled 
" South-Indian Palaeography," is about to be published in Madras, 
but I regret that a copy of it has not yet arrived. 

It has been my chief object throughout this work to promote a more 
systematic and scientific study of the Dravidian languages themselves — 
for their own sake, irrespective of theories respecting their relationship 
to other languages — by means of a careful inter-comparison of their 
grammars. Whilst I have never ceased to regard this as my chief 
object, I have at the same time considered it desirable to notice, as 
opportunity occurred, such principles, forms, and roots as appeared to 
bear any affinity to those of any other language or family of languages, 
in the hope of contributing thereby to the solution of the question of 
their ultimate relationship. That question has never yet been scienti- 
fically solved, though one must hope that it will be solved some day. 
It has not yet got beyond the region of theories, more or less plausible. 
My own theory is that the Dravidian languages occupy a position of 
their own between the languages of the Indo-European family and 
those of the Turanian or Scythian group — not quite a midway position, 
but one considerably nearer the latter than the former. The particu- 
lars in which they seem to me to accord with the Indo-European lan- 
guages are numerous and remarkable, and some of them, it will be seen, 
are of such a nature that it is impossible, I think, to suppose that they 
have been accidental ; but the relationship to which they testify — in 
so far as they do testify to any real relationship — appears to me to be 
very indefinite, as well as very remote. On the other hand the parti- 
culars in which they seem to me to accord with most of the so-called 
Scythian languages are not only so numerous, but are so distinctive 
and of so essential a natur^ that they appear to me to amount to what 
is called a family likeness, and therefore naturally to suggest the idea 


of a common descent. The evidence is cumulative. It seems impos- 
sible to suppose that all the various remarkable resemblances that will 
be pointed out, section after section, in this work can have arisen 
merely from similarity in mental development — of which there is no 
proof — or similarity in external circumstances and history — of which 
also there is no proof — much less without any common cause whatever, 
but merely from the chapter of accidents. The relationship seems to 
me to be not merely morphological, but — in some shape or another, 
and however it may be accounted for — genealogical. The genealogical 
method of investigation has produced remarkable results in the case of 
the Indo-European family of languages, and there seems no reason why 
it should be discarded in relation to any other family or group ; but 
this method is applicable, as it appears to me, not merely to roots and 
forms, but also to principles, contrivances, and adaptations. I have 
called attention to the various resemblances I have noticed, whether 
apparently important or apparently insignificant — not under the suppo- 
sition that any one of them, or all together, will suffice to settle the 
difficult question at issue, but as an aid to inquiry, for the purpose of 
helping to point out the line in which further research seems likely — 
or not likely — to be rewarded with success. An ulterior and still more 
difficult question will be found to be occasionally discussed. It is this : 
Does there not seem to be reason for regarding the Dravidian family 
languages, not only as a link of connection between the Indo-European 
and Scythian groups, but — in some particulars, especially in relation 
to the pronouns — as the best surviving representative of a period in 
the history of human speech older than the Indo-European stage, older 
than the Scythian, and older than the separation of the one from the 

Whilst pointing out extra- Dravidian affinities wherever they appeared 
to exist, it has always been my endeavour, as far as possible, to explain 
Dravidian forms by means of the Dravidian languages themselves. In 
this particular I think it will be found that a fair amount of progress 
has been made in this edition in comparison with the first — for which 
I am largely indebted to the help of Dr Gundert's suggestions. A con- 
siderable number of forms which were left unexplained in the first edi- 
tion have now, more or less conclusively, been shown to have had a 
Dravidian origin, and possibly this process will be found to be capable 
of being carried further still. The Dravidian languages having been 
cultivated from so early a period, and carried by successive stages of 
progress to so high a point of refinement, we should be prepared to 
expect that in supplying themselves from time to time with inflexional 
forms they had availed themselves of auxiliary words already in use, 


with only such modifications in sound or meaning as were necessary to 
adapt them to the new purposes to which they were applied. Accord- 
ingly it does not seem necessary or desirable to seek for the origin of 
Dravidian forms out of the range of the Dravidian languages them- 
selves, except in the event of those languages failing to afford us a 
tolerably satisfactory explanation. Even in that event, it must be 
considered more probable that the evidence of a native Dravidian origin 
has been obliterated by lapse of time than that the Dravidians, when 
learning to inflect their words, borrowed for this purpose the inflexional 
forms of their neighbours. It is a difl'erent question whether some of 
the Dravidian forms and roots may not have formed a portion of the 
linguistic inheritance which appears to have descended to the earliest 
Dravidians from the fathers of the human race. I should be inclined, 
however, to seek for traces of that inheritance only in the narrow area 
of the simplest and most necessary, and therefore probably the most 
primitive, elements of speech. 

In preparing the second edition of this book, as in preparing the 
first, I have endeavoured to give European scholars, whether resident 
in Europe or in India, such information respecting the Dravidian lan- 
guages as might be likely to be interesting to them. I have thought 
more, however, of the requirements of the natives of the country, than 
of those of foreigners. It has been my earnest and constant desire to 
stimulate the natives of the districts in which the Dravidian languages 
are spoken to take an intelligent interest in the comparative study of 
their own languages ; and I trust it will be found that this object 
has in some measure been helped forward. Educated Tamilians have 
studied Tamil — educated Telugus have studied Telugu — the educated 
classes in each language-district have studied the language and litera- 
ture of that district — with an earnestness and assiduity which are 
highly creditable to them, and which have never been exceeded in the 
history of any of the languages of the world — except, perhaps, by the 
earnestness and assiduity with which Sanskrit has been studied by the 
Brahmans. One result of this long-continued devotion to grammatical 
studies has been the development of much intellectual acuteness ; an- 
other result has been the progressive refinement of the languages them- 
selves j and these results have acted and reacted one upon another. 
Hence, it is impossible for any European who has acquired a competent 
knowledge of any of the Dravidian languages — say Tamil — to regard 
otherwise than with respect the intellectual capacity of a people amongst 
whom so wonderful an organ of thought has been developed. On the 
other hand, in conseque^jce of the almost exclusive devotion of the 
native literati to grammatical studies they have fallen considerably 


behind the educated classes in Europe in grasp and comprehensiveness. 
What they have gained in acuteness, they have lost in breadth. They 
have never attempted to compare their own languages with others — not 
even with other languages of the same family. They have never 
grasped the idea that such a thing as a family of languages existed. 
Consequently the interest they took in the study of their languages 
was not an intelligent, discriminating interest, and proved much less 
fruitful in results than might fairly have been expected. Their philo- 
logy, if it can be called by that name, has remained up to our own 
time as rudimentary and fragmentary as it was ages ago. Not having 
become comparative, it has not become scientific and progressive. The 
comparative method of study has done much, in every department of 
science, for Europe ; might it not be expected to do much for India 
also 1 If the natives of Southern India began to take an interest in 
the comparative study of their own languages and in comparative philo- 
logy in general, they would find it in a variety of ways much more 
useful to them than the study of the grammar of their own language 
alone ever has been. They would cease to content themselves with 
learning by rote versified enigmas and harmonious platitudes. They 
would begin to discern the real aims and objects of language, and 
realise the fact that language has a history of its own, throwing light 
upon all other history, and rendering ethnology and archaeology pos- 
sible. They would find that philology studied in this manner enlarged 
the mind instead of cramping it, extended its horizon, and provided it 
with a plentiful store of matters of wide human interest. And the 
consequence probably would be that a more critical, scholarly habit of 
mind, showing itself in a warmer desire for the discovery of truth, 
would begin to prevail. Another result — not perhaps so immediate, 
but probably in the end as certain — a result of priceless value — would 
be the development of a good, readable, resj)ectable, useful, Dravidian 
literature — a literature written in a style free at once from pedantry 
and from vulgarisms, and in matter, tone, and tendency, as well as in 
style, worthy of so intelligent a people as the natives of Southern India 
undoubtedly are. 

I trust the interest taken in their language, literature, and antiqui- 
ties by foreigners will not be without its effect in kindling amongst the. 
natives of Southern India a little wholesome, friendly rivalry. If a 
fair proportion of the educated native inhabitants of each district were 
only to apply themselves to the study of the philology and archaeology 
of their district with anything like the same amount of zeal with which 
the philology and archaeology of Europe are studied by educated 
Europeans, the result would probably be that many questions which 


are now regcarded as insoluble would speedily be solved, and that pur- 
suits now generally regarded as barren would be found full of fruit. 

Native pandits have never been surpassed in patient labour or in an 
accurate knowledge of details. They require in addition that zeal for 
historic truth and that power of discrimination, as well as of generali- 
sation, which have hitherto been supposed to be special characteristics 
of the European mind. Both these classes of qualities seem to me to 
be combined in a remarkable degree in the articles recently contri- 
buted by learned natives to the Bombay Indian Antiquary on sub- 
jects connected with the languages and literature of Northern India ; 
and those articles appear to me to be valuable not only in themselves, 
but also as giving the world a specimen of the kind of results that 
might be expected if learned natives of Southern India entered, in 
the same critical, careful spirit, on the cultivation of the similar, 
though hitherto much- neglected, field of literary labour, which may be 
regarded as specially their own. 

I was much gratified last year on finding that this Comparative 
Grammar of the Dravidian Languages had ceased to be the only Indian 
Comparative Grammar that had appeared. Mr Beames has followed 
up this line of philological research by the publication of the first 
volume of a Comparative Grammar of the Modern Aryan Languages 
of India — that is, the North-Indian Vernaculars. I regret that the 
second volume of that valuable work has not yet been published. A 
Comparative Grammar of the Kolarian tongues, the third great Indian 
family, has probably not yet been contemplated ; but I am inclined to 
think that it would be found to be productive of important and inter- 
esting results. 

I have endeavoured to make the second edition of this work more 
easily available for reference, as well as more complete, than the former 
one, by providing the reader with a full table of contents and an index 
of proper names, together with paradigms of nouns, numerals, pro- 
nouns, verbs, &c. I have also given a list of the books and papers 
bearing, directly or indirectly, on Dravidian philology which have 
appeared since the first edition of this work, and which have been 
referred to or made use of in this edition. 

I have much pleasure in acknowledging the valuable help I have 
received from many friends. Amongst them are the following : — Rev. 
J. Brigel; C. P. Brown, Esq.; A. C. Burnell, Esq., Ph.D. ; Rev. J. Clay; 
T. W. Rhys Davids, Esq. ; Rev. E. Diez; Prof. Eggeling; Sir Walter 
Elliot, K.C.S.L; the late^C. Cover, Esq.; Rev. F. Kittel; Rev. F. 
Metz ; Prof. Max Miiller ; N. P. Narasimmiengar, Esq. ; Rev. Dr Pope ; 


P. Le Page Renouf, Esq. ; Dr Rost ; Prof. Teza ; Dr Ernest Trumpp. 
I have especially to thank Colonel Yule, C.B., for much interesting and 
valuable information on points connected with topography and history; 
and the Kev. Dr Gundert for the invaluable help he was so kind as to 
render me in connection with every department of this work. I beg 
to thank the Indian and Colonial Governments and the various officers 
entrusted with the management of the late Indian census for the infor- 
mation with which I have been favoured respecting the numbers of the 
people speaking the various Dravidian languages. 


Office op the Society for the Pkopagation 
OF THE Gospel, 
19 Delahay Street, Westminster, 
London, 1875. 

BOOKS AND PAPERS bearing on Dravidian Comparative 
Philology, published subsequently to the first edition of 
this work, and quoted or referred to in this edition. 

Arden. — Progressive Grammar of the Telugu Language. By the Rev. A. H, 

Arden, M.A. Masulipatam, and Triibners, London, 1872. 
Bae7\ — Historische Fragen mit Hiilfe der Naturwissenschaften Beantwortet. 

Von Dr Carl Ernst v. Baer. St Petersburgh, 1873. 
Batsch. — Brief Grammar and Vocabulary of the OrS,on Language. By Rev. F. 

Batsch. Journal of the Bengal Asiatic Society, vol. xxxv. Calcutta, 
Beames — Comparative Grammar of the Modern Aryan Languages of India. By 

J. Beames, Esq., B.C.S. Triibners, London, 1872. 
Beames. — On the Present Position of Old Hindi in Oriental Philology. By J. 

Beames, Esq., B.C.S. Indian Antiquary for January 1872. Bombay, 

and Triibners, London. 
Beames. — Kirtans ; or Hymns from the Earliest Bengali Poets, By J. Beames, 

Esq., B.C.S. Indian Antiquary for November 1872. Bombay, and 

Triibners, London. 
Bellew. — From the Indus to the Tigris (including a Grammar and Vocabulary of 

the Brahui Language), By Dr Bellew, Triibners, London, 1873, 
Bleeh. — Comparative Grammar of the South African Languages. By W. H. J. 

Bleek, Esq., Ph.D. Triibners, London, 1862. 
BleeTc. — On the Position of the Australian Languages. By W. H. J. Bleek, Esq., 

Ph.D. Journal of the Anthropological Society, London, 1871. 
Bower. — On the Tamil Language and Literature. By the Rev. H. Bower, D.D. 

Calcutta Review, vol. xxv. 
Bower. — Lecture on Auveyar, a Tamil female poet. By the Rev. H. Bower, D.D. 

Brigel. — Tulu Grammar. By the Rev. J. Beigel. Mangalore, 1872. 
Buehler. — On the Origin of Sanskrit Linguals. By Dr George Buehler. Madras 

Journal of Literature, July 1864. 
Burnell. — An interesting passage in Kamarila-Bhatta's Tantrav^rttika. By A. C. 

Burnell, Esq., Ph.D., M.C.S. Indian Antiquary for October 1872. 
Burnell. — The Oldest-known South Indian Alphabet. By A. C. Burnell, Esq., 

Ph.D., M.C.S, Indian Antiquary for November 1872. 
Burnell. — Specimen of South Indian Dialects : 1. Konkani ; 2. Coorg {Kodagu) ; 

Mappila Malaydlam. Mangalore, 1872. (In progress.) 
Caldwell. — On the Substitution of the Roman for the Indian Characters. By the 

Rev. Dr Caldwell, Madras Journal of Literature for 1858-9. 
Campbell. — Ethnology of India. By Sir George Campbell, K. C.S.I. Journal of 

the Bengal Asiatic Society, vol.cxxxvj. iCL^ 
Campbell. — Specimens of Languages of India, By Sir George Campbell, K.C.S.L 

Calcutta, 1874. 
Chitty. — The Tamil Plutarch, By Simon Casie Chittt, Esq., Jaffna. Ceylon, 

1859. . 

Cole. — Coorg Grammar. By Major R. A. Cole. Bangalore, 1867. 


Cunningham. — The Ancient Geography of India. By General Alexander Cun- 
ningham. London, 1871. 

Dalton. — Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal. By Colonel E. T. Dalton, C.S.I. 
Calcutta, 1872. 

Davids. — Conquest of South India in the Twelfth Century, by Pardki-ama Bahu 
the Great, king of Ceylon. By T. W. Keys Davids, Esq. Journal of 
the Bengal Asiatic Society, 1872. 

Dawson. — Brief Grammar and Vocabulary of the Gond Language. By the Rev. 
J. Dawson. Journal of the Bengal Asiatic Society, 1871. 

Edkins. — China's Place in Philology. By the Rev. Joseph Edkins, D.D. Peking, 

Eggeling. — On the Chera and Chalukya Dynasties. A paper read at the Inter- 
national Congress of Orientalists by Dr Eggeling, Secretary of the Royal 
Asiatic Society, London, 1874. 

Frye. — On the Uriya and Khond Population of Orissa. By Lieut. J. P. Frte. 
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. London, 1872, 

Gazetteer. — The Central Provinces' Gazetteer. Nagpur, second edition, 1870. 

Gover. — The Folk-Songs of Southern India. By C. E. Cover, Esq. Madras, 

Graeter. — Coorg Songs, with Outlines of Coorg Grammar. By Rev. A. Graeter. 
Man galore, 1870. 

Graul. — Outlines of Tamil Grammar. By the Rev. C. Graul, D.D. Leipzig, 

Graul. — Der Kural des Tiruvalluvar. By the Rev. C. Graul, D.D, Leipzig, 

Graul. — Reise nach Ostindien. By the Rev. C. Graul, D.D. Three vols. Leip- 
zig, 1856. 

Growse. — On the Non-Aryan Element in Hindi Speech. By F, S. Growse, Esq., 
M.A., B.C.S. Indian Antiquary for April 1872. 

Gundert. — Malayalam Grammar. By the Rev. H. Gundert, Ph.D. Second edi- 
tion. Mangalore, 1868. 

Gundert. — Malayalam Dictionary. By the Rev. H. Gundert, Ph.D. Mangalore, 

Gundert. — On the Dravidian Elements in Sanskrit, By the Rev. H. Gundert, 
Ph.D. Journal of the German Oriental Society for 1869, 

Ilislop. — Papers relating to the Aboriginal Tribes of the Central Provinces, left in 
MS. by the late Rev. S. Hislop. Edited, with Notes, by Sir Richard 
Temple. Nagpur, 1866. 

Hodgson. — Essays on the Languages, Literature, and Religion of Nepal, Tibet, 
and adjacent Countries. By Brian Hodgson, Esq., late 'British Resi- 
dent, Nepal. 

llodson. — Canarese Grammar. By Rev. T. Hodson. Second edition. Banga- 
lore, 1864. 

Hunfalvy. — On the Study of the Turanian Languages. A paper read at the 
International Congress of Orientalists, London, 1874, by Professor Hun- 

Hunter. — Comparative Dictionary of the Non-Aryan Languages of India and 
High Asia. By W. W. Hunter, LL.D., B.C.S, Triibners, London, 

Kennet. — Notes on Early-printed Tamil Books. By the Rev. C. E. Kennet. Indian 
Antiquary for June 1873. 

Kittel. — On the Dravidian Element in Sanskrit Dictionaries. By the Rev. F. 
KiTTEL. Indian Antiquary for August 1872. 


Kittel. — Notes concerning the Numerals of the Ancient Dravidians. By the Rev. 

F. Kittel. Indian Antiquary for January 1873. 
Kittel. — Kesir4j4'8 Jewel Mirror of Grammar (3abda mani darpana), a Grammar 

of Ancient Canarese. By the Rev. F. Kittel. Mangalore, 1872. 
Kktel. — Article on Old Canarese Literature, by the Rev. F. Kittel, in Indian 

Antiquary for January 1875. 
Koelle. — Grammar of the Bornu or Kanuri Language. By the Rev. S. W. Koelle, 


Marshall. — A Phrenologist among the Tudas. By Lieut, -Col. Marshall. TriiV^ 

^rtrrs; London, 1873. Lrrv 47 ruA-tc*/ ] 

Metz. — The Tribes inhabiting the Neilgherry Hills. By the Rev. F. Metz. Second 

edition. Mangalore, 1864. 
i¥mV,— Original Sanskrit Texts. ByJ.MuiR, Esq., D.C.L., LL.D,, late B,C.S. 

Second edition, five vols. Triibners, London, ]868. 
Mueller. — Reise der Fregatte Novara, Linguistischer Theil. By Professor Feied- 

RiCH Mueller. Vienna, 1868. 
Mueller. — Lectures on the Science of Language. By Professor Max Mueller. 

Two vols. London, 1864. 
Murdoch. — Classified Catalogue of Tamil-printed Books, with introductory notices. 

By J. Murdoch, Esq., LL.D. Madras, 1865. 
Nelson. — The Madura Country. A Manual compiled by order of the Madras 

Government. By J. H, Nelson, Esq., M.A., M.C.S. Madras, 1868, 
Phillips. — Tumuli in the Salem District, By the Rev. Maurice Phillips. Indian 

Antiquary, 1873. 
Pope. — A Larger Grammar of the Tamil Language in both dialects, with the 
Nannul and other native authorities. By the Rev. G. U. Pope, D, D. 
Second edition. Madras, 1859. 
Pope. — Tamil Handbook, By the Rev, G, U. Pope, D.D. Second edition. 

Madras, 1859, 
Pope,— One Alphabet for all India, By the Rev. G, U, Pope, D.D. Madras, 1859. 
Pope. — The Sermon on the Mount, in English, Tamil, Malay^lam, Canarese, and 
Telugu, in the Roman character. By the Rev. G. U. Pope, D.D 
Madras, 1860. 
Pope. — Outlines of the Grammar of the Tuda Language, By the Rev. G 

Pope, D.D., included in Colonel Marshall's " Phrenologist among the 

Tudas," Triibners, London, 1873, 

Priaulx. — India and Rome. Indian Travels of Apollonius of Tyana, and the 

Indian Embassies to Rome, By P, de B, Priaulx, Esq,, Quarricb. 

London, 1873, 

Prinsep. — Essays on Indian Antiquities. By the late J. T. Prinsep, Esq., B.C.S. 

Edited with Notes by Edward Thomas, Esq., F.R.S,, late B,C.S. 

Two vols, London, 1858. 

Sanderson. — Canarese Dictionary, by the Rev. W. Reeves. Revised and enlarged 

by the Rev. D. Sanderson. Bangalore, 18^8. 
Sayce. — Principles of Comparative Philology. By A. H. Sayce. London, Triib- 

ner & Co., 1874. 
Quairefages. — Etude sur les Todas. Par M. de Quatrefages de Br:^au. Journal 

des Savants, December 1873 — January 1874. Paris. 
Tdrandtha's History of the Propagation of Buddhism in India; Tibetan and 

German. St Petersburgh, 1870, 
Tennent.— Ceylon. By Sir Emerson Tennent. Two vols. London, 1860. 
Tickell. — Brief Grammar and Vocabulary of the Ho, a Kolarian Language. By 
Colonel Tickell. Journal of the Bengal Asiatic Society, vol. xxxv. 




Travancore. — Inscriptions in Tinnevelly and South Travancore. By His Highness 

Rama Varma, First Prince of Travancore. Indian Antiquary for De- 
cember 1873. 
Trumpp. — Grammar of the Sindhi Language. By Dr Ernest Trumpp. Triib- 

ners, London, 1872. 
I'M^e.— Marco Polo, newly translated and edited with Notes, by Lieut.-Col. H. 

Yule, C.B. Two vols. London, 1871. 
r«Zc.— Cathay and the Way Thither. By Lieut.-Col. H. Yule, C.B. Hakluyt 

Society, London, 1866. 
Yule. — Map of Ancient India, with accompanying Memoir, in Dr Wm. Smith's 

Atlas of Ancient Classical Geography. London, 1875. 
Weber. — Indian Pronunciation of Greek, and Greek Pronunciation of Hindii 

Words. By Dr A. Weber. Translated by E. Rehatsek, Esq. Indian 

Antiquary for May 1873. 
Williams. — Application of the Roman Alphabet to the Languages of India. By 

Professor Monier Williams. London, 1859. 
Winsloto. — Tamil Dictionary. Completed and edited by the Rev. M. Winslow, 

D.D. Madras, 1862. 




Object in view, investigation and illustration of grammatical structure 
of Dravidian languages. Those languages the vernaculars of Southern 
India, 1. Position of Sanskrit and Hindiist5,ni, 2. Position of English. 
Note. — Sir Erskine Perry ; English included in General Test, 3. 

Use of the Common Term ' Dravidian,' ..... 4-8 

Dravidian Languages at oiie time styled * Tamulian.' Kumdrila- 
bhatta's term, Andhra-Brdvida hhdshd, 3. Note. — Dr Burn ell's remarks, 

4. Eeasons for choosing the term Dravidian : Manu's use of * Dravida,' 

5. Use of * Dravidi ' by philological writers, 6. Division of Indian 
vernaculars by Northern Pandits into two classes — Gauras and Dr^viras, 
7. No common term used by native Dravidian scholars ; Var^ha-mihira's 
local knowledge, 8. 

Enumeration op Dravidian Languages, . . . . .9-44 

Six Cultivated Dialects. 
Six Uncidtivated Dialects. 

I. Tamil, . . . . . . . . 9-19 

Where spoken, 9. Name of Madras; spelling of 'Tamil,' 10. Tamil 
erroneously called ' Malabar ; ' origin of the error ; Professor Max Miiller ; 
Dr Hutiter, 11. Colebooke ; first book printed in Tamil, 12. ' Dravida' 
corresponds to * Tamil ' in Sanskrit ; proof of this ; Varaha-mihira, 
Taranatha, Mah^wanso, 13. Asoka's inscription ; Peutinger Tables ; 
Ravenna geographer, 14, Derivation of native pandits ; names of three 
subdivisions of Tamil people ; Pandta ; Singhalese traditions, MahS,- 
bharata ; Pandyas on Malabar coast ; Note — Embassy of King Pandion 
to Augustus, 15. Pandyas as known to the Greeks, 16. Pliny's refer- 
ences to the Pandyas; Ch6la,— A^ka's inscription, Ptolemy, Hwen 
Thsang; capital of the Cholas, extent of their power, 17. Chera. — 
Various shapes of this name ; original identity of the three subdivi- 
sions of the Tamil people ; native tradition, representations in Sanskrit, 
18. Why is Tamil called ' Aravam ? ' Various theories, 19. Why are 
Tamilians called Tigalar by the Canarese ? 

II. Malatalam, ....... 20-24 

Where spoken, 20. Origin of the name ' Malay^lam,' 21. Different 
shapes of the name Kerala ; identity with ' Chera ; ' meaning of 
* Kongu,' 22. Cosmas Indicopleustes' MaX^ ; period of separation of 
Malayajam from Tamil, 23<» Configuration of the country, 24. 




Origin of the term ' Coromandel,' . . . , . . 25, 26 

Fra Paulino's supposition ; use of ' Choramandala ' by the first Por- 
tuguese ; equivalent of Ma'bar, 25. Derivation from name of village 
of Coromandel inadmissible ; Colonel Yule's communication, 26. 

Ongin of the term ' Malabar,* . . . . . .27,28 

Use of first part of the name amongst Greeks and Arabians ; use of 
the affix hdr amongst Arabians and early Europeans ; origin of hdr, 27. 
Suggestion of Dr Gundert ; Colonel Yule's communication ; Maldives ; 
Persian hdr\ origin of war of Kattywar, &c. ; Dr Trumpp, 28. 

III. Telugu, ........ 29-32 

Where spoken, 29. Eastern ' Klings ; ' Sanskrit Andhra ; Andhras in 
the Vedas and the Greek writers, 30. Derivation of the name Telugu ; 
native derivation regarded by Mr C. P. Brown as inaccurate, 31. Traces 
of Trilingam ; traces of Trikalinga; meaning of Vadugu, 32. 

IV. Canarese, . . . . . . . .33,34 

Where spoken, 33. Derivation of the name Karndtaka ; different 
applications of the name, 34. 

V. TuLU, ........ 35 

Where spoken ; Tulu a highly-developed language ; to which Dravi- 
dian language most nearly allied ? 35. 

VI. KUDAGU or CooRG, ....... 36 

Where spoken ; which Dravidian language it resembles most ; doubt- 
ful whether it should be placed amongst the cultivated class, 36. 

VII. TuDA, ........ 36 

Where spoken ; Tudas the smallest of Dravidian tribes ; books about 
the Tudas and their language, 36. 

VIIL KoTA, . . . . . . . ■ . 37 

Where spoken; characteristics of the language, 37. 

IX. GoND, ........ 38 

Gdndwana ; numbers of the Gonds ; different tribes ; Koitors, 38. 

X. Khond or Ku, ....... 38 

Where spoken ; human sacrifices ; origin of name, 38. 

XI. Maler or Rajmahal, ...... 39 

Where spoken ; language different from that of the Santals, 39. 

XII. Oraon, ........ 39-43 

Relationships of this tribe and their language, 39. Amount of the 

Dravidian element in the Maler and Oraon not clearly ascertained, 40. 
Census of peoples and tribes speaking Dravidian languages, 41. Tribes 
not enumerated ; Kolarian tribes, 42. Tribes ,'of the North-Eastern 
frontier; Brahui contains a Dravidian element; Dravidians seem to 
have entered India from the North- West, 43. 



The Dravidian idioms not m,erely provincial dialects of the same language, 42 
People not mutually understood ; Tamil and Telugu furthest apart, 42. 

The Dravidian Languages independent of SansJcritf . . . 43-55 

Supposition of the northern pandits that the South- Indian vernacu- 
lars were derived from Sanskrit erroneous, 43. List of sixty words in 
Sanskrit and Tamil, 48. Ancient dialect of Tamil contains little San- 
skrit, 49. Eelation of English to Latin, and of Tamil to Sanskrit, illus- 
trated by a comparison of Ten Commandments in English and Tamil, 
49. Archbishop Trench's expressions, 50. Tamil less studied than other 
dialects by Br5,hmans, 51. Thirteen particulars in which the Dravidian 
languages differ essentially from Sanskrit, 52-54. Are there traces of 
Scythian influences in Sanskrit itself? Mr Edkins's " China's Place in 
Philology," 54 ; Note. — Structure of Japanese, 55. 

Is there a Dravidian element in the Vernacular Languages of Northern 

India? ........ 56-64 

Hypothesis that the corruption of Sanskrit out of which the Northern 
vernaculars have arisen was due to the Dravidian languages considered ; 
general conclusion that the modifying influences, though probably 
Scythian or non- Aryan, do not appear to have been distinctively Dravi- 
dian, 56-64. 

To what group of Languages are the Dravidian idioms to be aMliated ? . 64-80 

Professor Rask's opinion, 64. Meaning of the term * Scythian ; ' Pro- 
fessor Max Miiller, 65. Intercomparison of the Scythian languages 
themselves should be carried further, 66. Some of the resemblances 
incapable of being accounted for by accident, 67. The original unity of 
languages probable, 68. Confirmation of the Scythian theory by the 
Behistun Tablets, 68. Principal points of resemblance between the 
language of the Tablets and the Dravidian languages, 69, 70. The 
existence of any analogy between the Dravidian languages and the 
Finno-Ugrian tends to confirm the argument for the original oneness of 
the human race, 71- Note. — Professor Hunfalvy, 71. Indo-European 
languages not so prolific of difl'erences as Scythian, 72. Kelationship of 
Dravidian languages to Scythian not universally admitted ; Dr Pope's 
remarks, 73. Mr Gover's " Folk-Songs; " Indo-European analogies dis- 
coverable in the Dravidian languages, 74. Dr Bleek's remarks; possi- 
bility of developments ah intra, 75. List of primitive Indo-Europeanisms ■ 
discoverable in the Dravidian languages, 76. Position between Indo- 
European and Scythian languages occupied by Dravidian ; existence 
of a few Semitic analogies, 77. Australian affinities, 78, 79. Eesem- 
blances discoverable in an African language, 80. 

Which language or dialect hest represents the primitive condition of the 

Dravidian tongues ? . . . . . . .80 

No one dialect implicitly to be followed ; a comparison of all existing 
dialects our safest guide. 

1. Literary, classical dialects of the Dravidian languages : to what extent 
may they be regarded as representing the primitive condition of those 
languages? , *. . . . . . . 81-83 



As soon as the Indian languages begin to be cultivated, the literary 
style has a tendency to become a literary language, 81. Illustrations 
from Northern India ; the same tendency in the Dravidian languages, 82. 
High Tamil, 83. 

2. High antiquity of the literary cultivation of Tamil, . . . 84-89 

Six reasons for inferring its relatively high antiquity, 84, 85. The 
Sanskrit words contained .in Tamil belong to three different periods; 
Note — Carnatic temples, 86. Eemarkable corruptions of certain San- 
skrit words, 87. Tamil inscriptions, 88. Characters in which those 
inscriptions are written ; character of Jewish and Christian tablets ; 
Note — Historical information contained in those inscriptions ; language 
of those inscriptions Tamil ; inferences from this ; Note — Meaning of 
the phrase opposite a year, 89. 

Earliest extant Written Relics of the Dravidian Langitages, . 91-106 

Dravidian words in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, 91, 92. Ear- 
liest Dravidian word in Greek, Ctesias's name for cinnamon, 93. Largest 
stock of Dravidian words found in names of places mentioned by Ptolemy 
and the other Greek geographers, 94. List of these words, 94-104. Con- 
dition of the Dravidian languages scarcely at all changed since the time 
of the Greeks, 104. Note. — Eoman coins; dates of Greek geographers, 
105. Words of the Turks of the Altai preserved by the Chinese ; period 
when the Dravidian speech divided into dialects, 106. 

Political and Social. Relation of the Primitive Dravidians to the 

Aryan and Pr^e- Aryan Inhabitants of Northern India, . 107-110 

Were the Dravidians identical with the aborigines whom the Aryans 
found in India ? 107.^ Relations of the Dravidians to the Aryans seem 
to have been always peaceable, 108. Dravidians may have been pre- 
ceded by another Scythian race, 109. Mr Curzon's opinion ; immigra- 
tions from India to Ceylon and back again ; Note. — Sanskrit and Dravi- 
dian names for the points of the compass, 110. 

Original Use and Progressive Extension op the term ' SOdra,' . 111-116 

Ethnological value of Manu's classification. 111. Were the ^Mras of 
^ the same race as the Aryans, or of a different race ? Lassen's supposi- 
tion, 112. Sanskrit authorities quoted, 113. Aryanisation of the Dra- 
vidians the result, not of conquest, but of colonisation ; Note — Sagara's 
distinguishing marks ; long hair of the Dravidians, 114. Connection of 
the Pdndyas with the P^ndavas ; Note — Professor Max Miiller's remarks, 
115. Dravidians called Stidras by the Brahmans ; ^udra has a higher 
meaning in the South than in the North, 116. 

Pr^- Aryan Civilisation OP the Dravidians, . . . .117,118 

Testimony of the Dravidian vocabulary, when freed from its San- 
skrit, 117, 118. 

Prohable date of Aryan civilisation of the Dravidians, . . . 119-122 

First city and state of the Dravidians probably Kolkei on the Tamra- 
parni; Agastya, the traditional leader of the first BrS-hman colony, 119. 



Agastya's age; references to Dravidas, &c., in Manu and the Mahd- 
. bMrata ; Note — name of Agastya's mountain, 120. References to early 
Dravidians in Mahd-wanso, 121. Inference from Kumdrila-bhatta's 
reference to the Dravidians ; names of places recorded by the Greeks 
Brahmanical; suppositions respecting earliest Dra vidian characters, 122. 

Relative Antiquity of Dra vidian Literature, . , . 123-153 

Age of Telugu Literature. 

A few works composed towards the end of the twelfth century, nearly 
all the rest in the fourteenth and subsequent centuries ; Vemana's 
poems, 123. 

Age of Canarese Literature. 

New light thrown on age of Canarese literature by Mr Kittel's publi- 
cation of Kesava's Grammar of Ancient Canarese ; age of Kesava ; pro- 
bably he lived about the end of the twelfth century, 124. 

Age of Malaydlam Literature. 

Dr Gundert's statements ; earliest phase of the language exhibited in 
the Rama Charita, 125. 

Age of Tamil Literature. 

Position of Agastya in Tamil literature ; works ascribed to Agastya 
not genuine, 126. Stanza attributed to him ; grammar of Tolkdppiyan ; 
Age of most Hindu writiugs unknown ; Tamil literature may be arranged 
in cycles, 127. 

(1.) The Jaina Cycle. 

Reasons for not styling this the cycle of the Madura College, 128. 
Oldest Tamil works extant appear to have been written by Jainas ; dura- 
tion of Jaina period; Note — Dr Burnell's remarks, 129. The Kural; 
reasons for assigning it to the tenth century, 130. Relation of Kural to 
Madura College, 131. N^ladiyar and Chintamani ; classical diction- 
aries, 132. 

(2.) The Tamil Rdmdyana Cycle. 

Differences between the Tamil version and the Sanskrit original, 133, 
Many poets lived at this period ; date prefixed to the poem too early, 
134. Relation of this poem to the reigns of Rajendra Chola and Kulo- 
tunga Chola; Rajendra's date, 135. Date of Ramanuja, 136. Auveiyar's 
date; the turkey; Mr Scott's rendering, 137. 

(3.) The l§aiva Revival Cycle. 

Two large collections of poems belong to this cycle, 138. This cycle 
identical with the reign of Sundara Pandya ; was this prince identical 
with Marco Polo's Sender-bandi ? his date beset with difficulties, 139. 
Reasons for placing him later than the eleventh century, 140. State- 
ments of Muhammedan historians respecting two Sundaras, 141. Madura 
inscription ; Muhammedan influences, 142. 

(4.) The Vaishnava Cycle. 
Poetical compositions of the disciples of RdmS,nuja; their date uncer- 



tain, 143. No reference in 6aiva poems to the Vaishnava ones, and 
vice versd, 143. 

[5.) The Cycle of the Literary Revival, . . . . .144,145 

The head of this new period one of the Pandya princes ; characteris- 
tics of the poems of this period, 144. Ati-Vira-R^ma Pdndya's date dis- 
covered in an inscription, 145. Relation of the Pandya princes of that 
period to the Nayaks of Madura, 145. 

(6.) The Anti-Brahmanical Cycle,^ .... .146-148 

Compositions of the so-called Sittar school; characteristics of these 
compositions, 146. The writers of this school acquainted with Chris- 
tianity, 147. Quotations from ^iva-vakyar, 148. 

(7.) The Modem Writers, ..... .149-153 

Their works numerous, but not generally valuable; Beschi's great 
poem, 149. Introduction of good colloquial prose, 150. Comparison 
between the number of books printed in Bengali and in Tamil ; charac- 
teristics of Dravidian poetry ; alliteration and rhyme, 151. Mental phy- 
siology of Indo -Europeans and Dravidians illustrated by their language ;, 
reason why literature could not flourish, 152. New stimulus now given 
to the native mind, 153. 


Note on Transliteration, , . . . . . . 3, 4 

Reasons for using Roman characters. How vowels are to be repre- 
sented and pronounced. How cerebral consonants and nasals are to be 
represented. How some consonants are to be represented when single, 
and how when doubled. Tendency to pronounce e like ye, and o like 
wo. This usage not ancient, and not observed in this work. Note. — 
Anecdote illustrating this usage. 


SOUNDS, 4-87 

Dbavidian Alphabets, . . . . . , .5-15 

Three Alphabets in use, 5. Their origin, 6. Mr Ellis's theory, 7. 
Mr E. Thomas's theory ; alphabet of the Malabar Inscriptions, 8. Dr 
Burnell's theory considered, 9. Characters of Chera Inscriptions ; fur- 
ther research needed, 10. Differences amongst the existing Alphabets, 
11. Peculiarities of Tamil Alphabet, 12. Comparative View of Deva- 
n4garl and Tamil Alphabets, 13. Note. — Dr Burn ell on early printing in 
India, 14. 



Dravidian System of Sounds — 1 

I. Vowels, ........ 15-20 

Weakening of a and a, 15. Origin of the diphthong ei'; Kumdrila- 

bhatta; Mr Beames, 16. Enunciative u, 17, 18. Short e and o; Mr 
Beames, 19. Attraction of certain vowels, 20. 

II. Consonants, ........ 21-48 

Convertibility of surds and sonants, 21, 22. Hehrew dagesh ; Finnish 
law, 23. Gutturals and palatals, 24. Telugu pronunciation of pala- 
tals, 25. Cerebrals and dentals ; conjunction of nasals and sonants, 26. 
Labials and semi-vowels ; Tamil rule, 27. Vocalic r, 28. Cerebral I ; 
rough r, 29. Pronunciation of Tamil nr ; which is radical? Note — 
Dr Gundert's opinion, 30. Sibilants and aspirates, 31. 

Origin or the Cerebral Sounds — Excursus, .... 32-47 

Reasons which lead me to suppose these sounds borrowed by San- 
skrit from the Dravidian languages, 32. Mr Norris's opinion ; Vedic 
Sanskrit I, 33. Professor Benfey's views ; Professor Biihler's paper on 
the opposite side, 34. His theory of the development of the lingual 
sounds, 35. Lingual sounds in English ; Professor Wilson, 36. Lingual 
sounds essential in Tamil, not merely euphonic, 37. Appearance of these 
sounds in Sanskrit, 38. Is the borrowing of sounds possible ? Influence 
of Norman-French on English, 39. Normans themselves borrowed; 
Hottentot ' ' click ; " Dr Bleek ; Bishop Callaway, 40. Descent accounts 
for much ; imitativeness for more, 41. Mr Beames's discussion of the 
question, 42-44. Oldest Aryan usage, 45. Is his theory perfectly ten- 
able ? 46. Influence of non- Aryans on Aryan pronunciation; Dr 
Trumpp's views, 47. 

Dialectic Interchange of Consonants, ..... 48-62 

Interchange of Gutturals, 48. Palatals, 49. Linguals, 50. Dentals, 
51. r into I ; t or d into I or s, 52. Labials, 53, 54. Semi-vowels, 
55-60. Sibilants, 61. 

Euphonic Permutation of Consonants, ..... 62-64 

Some permutations imitate Sanskrit, 62. Others independent ; initial 
surds, when softened ? 63. Assimilation of concurrent consonants, 64. 

Euphonic Nunnation or Nasalisation, ..... 65-70 

Insertion of a nasal before formative suffixes, Q5. This accounts for 
shape of certain Tamil adverbs of place, QQ. Suffixes with t and d nasal- 
ised, 67. Origin of demonstrative adjectives ; Dr Gundert's view, 68. 
Insertion of a nasal before the d of the preterite in Tamil, 69. Use of 
nunnation in other languages, 70. 

Prevention of Hiatus, . . . . . . .71-77 

Hiatus, how prevented in Indo-European Languages ? how in Dravi- * 
dian ? 71. Use of v, y, and n, 72. Use of m, 73. Use of n in Tamil 
also, 74. Origin of the n in certain numerals, 75, Usage of Tulu, 76. 
Euphonic insertion of r and d, 76. 



Harmonic Sequence of Vowels, ...... 77-79 

This law in the Turanian languages, 77. Similar law of attraction in 
Telugu, 78. In Canarese also, 79. 

Principles of Syllabation, . . . . . . 79-82 

Dravidian dislike of compound consonants, 79. Sanskrit double con- 
sonants, how dealt with in Tamil, 80. The same peculiarity in Scythian 
languages ; similar instances iu other languages ; Professor Max Mtiller's 
illustrations, 81. Resemblance of Prakrit rules to Dravidian, 82. 

Minor Dialectic Peculiarities, ...... 82-87 

1. Euphonic displacement of consonants, 82. 2. Euphonic displace- 
ment of vowels, 83. 3. Rejection of radical consonants, 84. 4. Accent, 
85. Changes which Sanskrit words undergo when Dravidianised, 86, 87. 


ROOTS, 88-114 

Languages of Europe and Asia admit of being arranged into classes, 
in accordance with the changes effected in Roots by the addition of gram- 
matical forms ; monosyllabic, intro-mutative, and agglutinative lan- 
guages, 88. 

Arrangement of Dravidian Roots into Classes — 

1. Verlal Roots, . . . . . . . .89 

2. Nouns, ......... 90 

Illustrations of the formation of nouns from verbal roots, 91. Some 
nouns remain which cannot be traced to any ulterior source, 92. 

DravidiarL Roots originally Monosyllabic, ..... 93 
Successive accretions ; illustration, 93. 

Euphonic Lengthening of Roots, . . . . . .94,95 

Note. — Dr Gundert's opinion, 94. Crude roots lengthened by the 
addition of enunciative vowels, 95. 

Formative Additions to Roots, . . ... . 96-101 

Originally f ormatives of verbal nouns ; used now to distinguish intran- 
sitive verbs from transitives, 96. Examples of use and force of forma- 
tives. 1, Tcu, 97 ; 2, su ; 3, du, 98. Origin of ntndu, to swim; transitive 
suffix preferred as a formative, 99. 4, hu; euphonisation of formatives ; 
quality possessed in common by adjectives and transitive verbs, 100. 
First part of the word alone generally contains the root; examples, 101. 

Reduplication of Final Consonant of Root, . . . .102 

Four purposes for which this is done in Tamil ; rationale, 102. 

Particles of Specialisation, ...... 103-107 

Use of such particles iu Semitic languages, 103. Resemblance of Dra- 
vidian root-system to Semitic in this particular, 104. Illustrations ; 



groups which radiate from the base syllables ad and an, 105. List of 
specialising particles ending in a consonant, 106. Another set of groups 
of roots; Max Miiller, Aryan instances, 107. 

Changes in Root- Vowels, ....... 108 

Root- vowel generally unalterable, 108. 

Exceptions — Internal Changes in Boots, ..... 109-114 

1. Euphonic changes. 2. Changes pertaining to grammatical expres- 
sion; root- vowels of pronouns, 109. 3. Strengthening of root-vowel 
of verb to form verbal noun ; examples ; this usage not likely to have 
. been derived from Sanskrit, ]10. Class of nouns so formed used adjec- 
tivally; root-vowels of numerals; shorter form older, 111. Origin of 
peim, Tam. green, 112. 4. Shortening of root- vowel in the preterite 
tense of certain verbs ; Tamil verbs vd and td ; Dr Pope's opinion, 113. 
Exceptions to the stability of root- vowels found also in the Scythian 
languages, 114. 


THE NOUN, . 115-215 

Section I. — Gender and Number, . . . ... 115-147 

1. Gender. 

Dra vidian laws of gender accord more closely with Scythian than with 
Indo-European tongues, 115. Indo-European laws of gender how dif- 
ferent from Scythian, 116. Dravidian nouns divided into two classes, 
denoting rational beings and things without reason. Note. — Mind and 
body, 117. Primitive laws of gender faithfully retained by Malayalam ; 
Telugu and Gond destitute of feminine singular, 118. Canarese and 
Malayalam agree in this particular with Tamil. 

2. Number. 

Only two numbers, singular and plural, 119. 

(1.) Masculine Singular, ...... 120-123 

Masculine singular sufi&xes in Tamil; formation of appellatives, 120. 
Subdivisions of appellatives, 121. Canarese and Telugu sufl&xes, 122. 
Ultimate identity of these with Tamil, 123. 

(2.) Feminine Singular, . . . . . . . 124, 125 

No suffix of the feminine singular in Telugu and Gond ; a formative 
sometimes used resembling the suffix of Tamil- Canarese, and probably 
of the same origin, 124. Telugu mode of forming feminine singular 
appellatives ; Note — Connection between Telugu dl-u, a woman, and 
Tamil dl, a person ; another feminine suffix possibly Sanskritic, 125. 

(3.) Neuter Singular, ....... 126-128 

Dravidian nouns naturally neuter, 126. Neuter suffixes rarely re- 
quired ; suffix of neuter singular of demonstrative pronouns and appel- 
lative nouns, 127. Affinities of neuter^singular suffix in d possibly 
Indo-European, 128. 


The Plural : Principles of Pluralisation, . . . . .128-135 

In Indo-European tongues number is denoted by the terminations ; 
in the Scythian number is generally left indefinite, 128. Neuters plu- 
ralised in Telugu, but rarely in Tamil, 129. Progress of pluralisation, 
130. Sign of plurality distinct from case-sign ; added directly to the 
crude base, 131. Paradigm of a noun in Hungarian and Tamil, 132. 
Pluralisation of masculine and feminine nouns ; no distinction of sex in 
plural; analogies to other languages; Note — Origin of Persian an, 133. 
Double plurals in Telugu, 134. Double plurals in Tamil, 135. 

(1.) Epicene Pluralising Particle, ..... 136-139 

Origin of epicene plural suffix ar, &c., 136. Origin of mdr in Tam.- 
Mal. ; formative in var, 137. Dr Gundert's explanation ; origin of verbal 
terminations in mar, &c., 138. Kelationship to pluralising particles in 
other families of languages, 139. Resemblance in use more important 
than resemblance in sound. 

(2.) Pluralising Particle of the Neuter, ..... 140-147 

1. The neuter plural suffix gal, with its varieties, 140. gal appears 
as lu in Telugu, 141. Gond particle ; particles used in High Asian lan- 
guages, 142. Origin of gal ; Note — Derivation of Dravidian word for 
*all,' 143. 2. Neuter plural suffix in a. Illustrations of use, 144. 
Neuter plural of verb ; of possessive adjectives ; of Malay^lam demon- 
stratives, 145. Lapse of a into ei. Telugu and Gond peculiarities, 146. 
Relationship of neuter plural suffix a ; Indo-European affinities ; gram- 
matical gender more fully developed in the Dravidian than in any other 
family of languages, 147. 

Section XL— Foemation of Cases, ..... 148-203 

Pnnciples of Case formation, . . . . . .148,149 

In this particular the Indo-European and Scythian families originally 
in agreement, 148. Case-signs in both originally postpositional words ; 
case-terminations of the plural different from those of the singular in 
the Indo-European; identical in the Scythian group, 149. Dravidian 
languages follow the Scythian plan. 

Number of Declensions, . . . . . . .150 

Only one declension, properly speaking, in Dravidian languages ; no 
difi'erence in signs of case, 150. Number of Dravidian cases. 

The Nominative — Absence of Nominative Case-terminations, . . 151-154 

Dravidian nominative the noun itself. Apparent exceptions exist, 
151. (1.) Neuter termination am might be supposed to be a nominative 
case-sign, but is not ; origin of this am, 152. Probably am was an 
ancient form of the demonstrative pronoun ; alternates with an, 153. 
(2.) Final n of personal pronoun does not make it a nominative. (3.) 
Lengthening of vowel of personal pronoun in the nominative looks like 
a case in point ; but probably vowel lengthened for sake of emphasis, 

Inflexion or Inflexional Base of the Oblique Cases, . . • 155 

In many instances the noun itself used as the inflexional base. Gene- 


rally the base receives some augmentation. Signs of case added to this 
inflected form, 155. 

(1.) The inflexional increment TSyVjith its dialectic varieties, . . 156,157 

Illustrations, 156. In Telugu ni, 157. in originally a locative. 

(2.) The inflexional increments AB and AR, .... 158,159 

These are most used in Canarese; are they identical in origin? 158. 
Tamil sometimes uses neuter demonstrative adu in a similar manner, 159. 

(3.) The inflexional increment Ti, . . . . . 160 

This the most common increment of neuter nouns in Telugu ; pro- 
bably ti, not ^i J connection of this with neuter demonstrative, 160. 

(4.) The inflexional increment attu or attru, . . . .160-162 

Tamil nouns in am take this increment, 160. attu used by the singu- 
lar alone ; attru used instead of attu by a few neuter plural pronominals ; 
attu and attru virtually identical, 161. Origin of the r of attru, 162. 
Dr Gundert's views respecting its origin. 

(5.) The formation of the inflexion by means of dovhling and hardening 

the final consonant, . . . . . . .163 

Explanation of this doubling ; Dr Gundert's view, 163. In Telugu, 
final consonant hardened, but not doubled. 

(6.) The inflexional increment i. Origin. Euphonic links of connection 

between the base and the inflexion, . . . . . 164 

In Tamil, euphonic u, 165. Use of v and y. 

The Accusative or Second Case, . . . . . .166 

In Indo-European languages, accusative a sign of passivity ; in Dravi- 
dian, accusative case-sign originally a formative of neuter abstracts ; 
nominative much used instead, 166. The same in Telugu as to things 
without life. 

i^.) Accusative Case-signs m.f-E, and A, . . * . . 167 

In Tamil ei ; in Malay^lam e or a, 167. With what case-signs in other 
languages this may be compared. 

(2.) Accusative Case-signs am, annu, anna, nu, <Ssc., . . . 168-170 

am the Old Canarese sign, annu the modern ; change of m into n, 168. 
Tulu ease-sign nu or n^ ; in Telugu nu or ni, 169. Comparison with 
case-signs in other languages ; Indo-European m or n; origin of Dra- 
vidian case-sign ; identical with am, the formative of neuter nouns, 170. 
Change of am into a. 

The Instrumental or Third Case, properly so called, . * . 171-173 

Different particles used in the difierent dialects. Telugu instru- 
mental ; Canarese, origin of this, 171. Tamil and Malay S,lam dl, an; 
origin of this; Dr Gundei^'s explanation, 172. No affinities to other 
languages ; periphrastic modes of forming instrumental case, 173. 



The Conjunctive or Social Case, . . . . . .174 

Ought to have a place in the list of Dravidian cases ; difference from 
instrumental Tam.-Mal. case-signs, 174. Telugu case-sign ; is this allied 
to the Tam.-Mal. ? Tulu communicative case. 

The Dative or Fourth Case, ...... 175-178 

In North Indian languages dative postpositions substantially the same 
as accusative, 175. Dravidian dative ; resemblance between Dravidian 
case-sign and North Indian how to be accounted for ; Dr Trumpp's 
explanation of Hind\i Jc6 ; Mr Beames's explanation, 176. Antiquity of 
Dravidian I:u ; Scythian dative case-signs bear some resemblance to Dra- 
vidian, 177. Behistun-Scythian case-signs; Malayalam seems to have 
two case-signs ; Dr Gundert's view of origin of nnu, 178. Can a Dra- 
vidian origin be discovered for Jcu ? 

The Ablative of Motion or Fifth Case, .... .179-181 

This case included in the list out of deference to Sanskrit grammar- 
ians ; not really different from locative, 179. Change of place expressed 
by addition of verb of motion ; Tamil suffixes il and in ; Old Canarese 
im, 180. Were il and in originally identical ? Compound ablative suffixes 
in Canarese, 181. Explanation of Telugu ablative ; Tu}u. 

The Genitive or Sixth Case. 

(1.) The abbreviated Pronominal Genitive, .... 182 

This may be explained as a pronominal adjective, 182. Similar abbre- 
viation in the case of some of the numerals. 

(2.) The Neuter Inflexional Genitive, ..... 183, 184 

Neuter suffixes used for the genitive originally signs of the locative ; 
Dr Trumpp's view; adjectival use of these suffixes arose from their use 
as genitives, 183. Connection between locative, genitive, and adjective ; 
Max Miiller's view, 184. Inflexional suffixes used as signs of genitive in 
Telugu ; not so in Canarese. 

(3.) The Neuter Demonstrative Genitives, .... 185 

adu and ddu in Tamil how used, 185. Followed by the singular 
alone ; Telugu use, 186. This suffix appended to the inflexion. 

(4.) The Possessive Suffix in, and its Varieties, .... 187-191 

Tamil in and Telugu ni originally locative suffixes ; in the most com- 
mon of all possessive suffixes in Tamil; Max Miiller, 187. Other case- 
suffixes generally appended to this in, 188. Adjectival force of in ; use 
of am resembles that of in, 189. Indo-European analogies to the use of 
in as a genitive, 190. Scythian analogies, 191. 

{5.) The Genitival Suffix A, ..... .192-194 

Probably identical with the a which forms the relative participle ; a 
the only genitive case-sign in Canarese, 192. So also in Telugu and 
Tulu ; adjectival a of some Telugu nouns identical with possessive a ; 
a little used now in Tamil, though first in the list, 193. Its use gene- 
rally confined to poetical plurals, 194. Indo-European affinities of this 
a, especially in the later dialects. 



(6.) The Malay dlam Genitive Suffix re or de, . . . . 19^^ 195 

This takes the shape of indre or inde, 195. Some resemblances to this 
illusory; Dr Stevenson; Hind^ist^nt and Persian rd, &c., 196. Iden- 
tical with Tamil adu. 

(7.) Auxiliary Suffixes of the Genitive in Telugu and Tamil, . . 197 

(i,) Telugu yoka ; origin of this wot-d, 197. (ii.) Tamil udeiya means 
literally that which is the property of ; Mai. u^e. 

Locative or Seventh Case, . . . . . . 198-200 

il the most common sign of this case in Tamil ; any word signifying 
' place' may be used, 198. Canarese suffixes 61 and alii; Telugu andu 
and id; Note — Resemblances between Tamil il and Latin in, 199. 
Telugu na ; use of the inflexion as a sign of the locative ; fusion of the 
meaning of genitives and locatives ; Note — Eadical element in il is i ; 
Max Mtiller, 200. 

The Vocative or Eighth Case, . . . . . .201 

No case-sign of the vocative in Dravidian languages ; modes in which 
the vocative is formed, 201, 

Compound Case-signs, ....... 202 

Two or more case-signs occasionally compounded into one, 202. 

Possessive Compounds, . . . . . . .202 

The absence of this class of compounds in the Dravidian languages 

Section III. — ^Adjectives, ob Nouns used Adjectivally, . . 203-213 

Adjectives in grammatical agreement with substantives in the Indo- 
European tongues ; in the Scythian tongues independent nouns of qua- 
lity, 203. 1. Dravidian adjectives also nouns of quality, 204. 2. How 
Sanskrit derivatives become Dravidian adjectives ; 3. How nouns end- 
ing in hard consonants double those consonants when used as adjectives, 
205. Soft finals how changed > 4. Each of the inflexional increments 
used for converting substantives into adjectives, 206. 5. Relative par- 
ticiples of verbs largely used as adjectives ; 6. Past verbal participle used 
as an adjective in Telugu, 207. 7. Many Dravidian adjectives formed 
by the addition to nouns of the suffixes by which relative participles 
are formed ; (1.) Addition of the suffix iya; origin of this, 208. Addi- 
tion of the suffix a; Note — Explanation of nalla, Tam. good, 209. 
Explanation of origin of certain adjectives; (3.) Addition of the suffix 
of the future relative participle, 210. 8. Nouns may become adjectives 
by the addition of the relative participle of the verb to become. Certain 
words erroneously styled adjectives. 

Comparison of Adjectives, . . . . . .211,212 

Mode of comparison different from that used in Indo-European lan- 
guages; resembles Semitic and Scythian mode, 211. Addition of con- 
junctive particle um, &c., as an intransitive, 212. Formation of super- 
lative ; attempt of Robert de Nobilibus. 

Postpositions, . . . . . . . .213 

All postpositions nouns, in the locative case understood, 213. 
Comparative Paradigm of a Neuter Dravidian Noun, sing, andplur., 214, 215 



THE NUMERALS, 216-253 

Each cardinal number has two shapes, that of a neuter noun of num- 
ber and that of a numeral adjective; in the colloquial dialects the 
former sometimes used instead of the latter, 216. Primitive form that 
of the numeral adjective. 

One. — Two forms in existence, oha in Telugu, oru in all other dialects. 
1. Basis of oru is or, 217. ondu or onri' at first sight resembles Indo- 
European 'one,' 218. Origin of ondu from oru; similar changes in 
other words, 219. Dr Gundert's opinion ; Mr Kittel's, 220-22. Origin 
of Telugu word for one, oha, 221. Scythian analogies to oha ; are oha 
and or related ? 222. Dravidian indefinite article. The numeral adjec- 
tive for ' one ' used as a sort of indefinite article. 

Two. — Neuter nouns difi'er slightly in the various dialects ; numeral 
adjective, ir ; the same in all, 223. Canarese form of neuter; Tamil 
form nasalised, 224. Radical form without a nasal; origin of ir ; 
Dr Gundert's opinion ; Mr Kittel's, 225. No analogies in any Indo- 
European language. Brahui word. No Scythian analogies. 

Three. — Neuter noun ; numeral adjective, 226. miX 1 or mu 1 Brahui 
word, 227. Origin of word for three. Dr Gundert ; Mr Kittel. 

Four. — Neuter noun ; numeral adjective, 228. Origin of nal, 229. 
No Indo-European analogy ; Ugro-Finnish analogies remarkably close. 

Five. — Neuter noun; numeral adjective, in all the dialects ei, 230. 
Resemblance between Sans, panchau and Tam.-Mal. anju, 231. How 
this resemblance has arisen, 232. Dr Gundert's opinion, 233. Radical 
meaning of ei ; Mr Kittel's explanation, 234. 

Six. — Neuter noun and numeral adjective nearly alike ; root-meaning 
of aTu, 235. No analogy with other languages discoverable. 

Seven. — Neuter noun and numeral adjective nearly alike, 236. No 
resemblance to word for seven in other languages. 

M^ight. — Tamil neuter noun e^u resembles Indo-European octo, &c. ; 
this resemblance disappears on examination, 237. Radical shape en; 
explanation of Telugu word enimidi; Telugu numeral adjective ena, 
238. Origin of midi, 239. Origin of en ; Max Miiller ; Mr Clay ; origin 
of en; similar derivation of a numeral in Lappish, 240. 

Nine. — In all Dravidian languages nine a compound number ; principal 
forms which nine assumes ; difference between meaning of Aryan word 
nine and Dravidian word; second member of the word means ten, 241. 
First member appears to mean * one,' but probably means ' before,' 242. 
Mode in which compounds into which nine enters are formed, 243. No 
affinity between Tamil word and Greek. 

Ten. — The word for ten virtually the same in all Dravidian dialects, 
244. Changes which take place, 245. Dr Gundert's opinion ; compari- 
son of Sanskrit panhti with Dravidian word, 246. Malayalam word for 
twelve ; Note — Final dn of Tamil poetical form, 247. Root of Dravi- 
dian word for ten ; Mr Kittel's explanation ; Note — Dr Hunter's word 
explained, 248. 


A Hundred.— Sameness of word for a hundred in all Indo-European 
languages a proof of intellectual culture and unity ; one and the same 
word used by all Dravidian languages ; derivation, 249. 

A Thousand. — Generally used Dravidian word a Sanskrit deriva- 
tive; Telugu word ; derivation, 250. 

Ordinal Numbers. 

Derivation of Dravidian ordinal number first ; forms of ordinal suf- 
fixes of other numbers ; do. of adverbial numbers. 

Affiliation, ........ 251 

No evidence of Indo-European descent, 251. Existence of Scythian 
analogies, especially as to the number four ; Professor Hunfalvy's opi- 
nion ; arithmetical faculty of Scythians not strongly developed, 252. 

Dravidian Numerals in the Five Principal Dialects : Paradigm, 253. 


THE PEONOUK, 254-327 

Light thrown by pronouns on relationship of languages. Personal pro- 
nouns the most persistent of all words. Peculiarity of Japanese. 

Section I.— Personal Pronouns, ..... 254 

1. Pronoust of the First Person Singular, .... 254-279 

Comparison of Dialects, . ...... 254-267 

Primitive form, 254. Classical and colloquial dialects to be com- 
pared ; inflexional forms and plurals to be compared, not nominative 
singular only, 255. Written form of the word represents oldest pronun- 
ciation ; forms of this pronoun in Tamil, 256. Malayalam and Canarese 
forms, 257. Telugu and Tulu ; minor dialects : which was the primi- 
tive form, nan or ydn ? Opinion expressed in former edition, 259. Dr 
Gundert's opinion ; Dr Pope's " Outlines of Tuda ; " the late Mr Gover's 
Paper, 260. Relationship of ydn to nan; changeableness of y, 261. 
Malayalam middle point nan ; both initial and final n changeable, 262. 
Both ydn and nan very ancient ; illustration from Sanskrit, asme and 
vayam, yushme and yHyam, 263. Included vowel a or el a weakened 
to e ; origin of final wy a sign of number, 264. Is n identical with m, 
the final of neuter singular nouns ? 265. Only essential difference be- 
tween pronouns of first and second person consists in difference of 
included vowels a and i, 266. What is the explanation of this ? These 
cannot be the demonstrative vowels ; an explanation suggested. Chi- 
nese ; Mr Edkins ; first three simple vowels utilised, 267. 

Extra-Dravidian Relationship. 

All pronouns of the first person traceable to one of two roots, ah and 

1. Semitic Analogies, ....... 269 

Sir H. Rawlinson, 269.* 



2. Indo-European Analogies^ ...... 270-274 

Dr Pope ; Mr Gover, 270. Comparison of pronouns and pronominal 
terminations of verb, 271. Can any analogy to Dravidian pronoun be 
traced? (1.) m of ma often changes to n; Note — Sir H. Rawlinson's 
conjecture; Bopp's, 272. Instances of change of m into n ; (2.) This 
m changes also into v, 273. (3.) ma also changes into a ; were the 
Indo-European and the Dravidian words originally related? 274. 

Scythian Analogies^ ....... 275-278 

Interesting analogies exist. (1.) Nominative, as well as base of 
oblique cases, derived from ma, 275. Illustrations from various Scythian 
languages ; m the equivalent of ma, 276. m occasionally changes into 
n ; instances, 277. In some Scythian languages this pronoun almost 
identical with Dravidian ; (2.) Some traces of the softening of na into 
a ; probability of a common origin of all these forms, 278. Professor 
Hunfalvy's paper read at International Congress of Orientalists. 

2. Pronoun of the Second Person Singular, .... 279-290 

Comparison of Dialects, ...... 279-283 

Tamil forms of this pronoun, 279. Second person of verb; Beschi's 
error, 280. Plurals ; Canarese and Telugu forms, 281. Minor dialects, 
282. Relative antiquity of existing forms ; nt very old, but t probably 
older, 283. Oldest shape of the vowel, i or u? probably i. 

Extra- Dravidian Relationship, ...... 284-289 

Dravidian pronoun of the second person singular more distinctively 
non-Aryan than the first : most prevalent form in both classes of lan- 
guages has t for its basis ; the other is founded on n. yu, base of the 
Aryan plural, 284. Origin of yu from tu. Mr Edkins' suggestion ; t gene- 
rally changed into s. s more prevalent in Scythian tongues than t, 285. 
Euphonic final n ; instances, 286. Another pronoun in n, not t, in some 
Scythian languages, apparently identical with the Dravidian ; Chinese, 
287. Behistun tablets, Brahui, Bornu ; allied forms in Ostiak, &c., 288. 
Traces discoverable in Finnish, Turkish, &c,, 289. Himalayan dialects ; 

3. The Reflexive Pronoun ' Self,' ..... 290-297 

This pronoun, tdn, more regular and persistent than any other of the 
Dravidian personal pronouns ; has a wider application than the corre- 
sponding Aryan reflexives, 291. Used honorifically ; from which use a 
class of words has arisen, 292. List of such words, with explanations : 
tambirdn, tagappan, tandei, tdy, 293. tammei, tannei, tameiyan, tamuk- 
kei, tambi, 294. tangei, namhi ; Coorg instances ; use of tan as basis 
of abstract noun for quality; Note — Meaning of spinster and duhitri, 
295. Origin of ta, the base of this pronoun, from some demonstrative 
root ; Sanskrit and Greek demonstratives in t, 296. Use of tan in the 
word for quality, like Sans, tad, a confirmation. 

4. Pluralisation of the Personal and Reflexive Pronouns, . 296-309 
Comparison of Dialects, . . . . . . .297 



Tamil plurals ; double plural in colloquial dialects, 297. Telugu 
double plural ; similar usage in Gaurian languages ; Mr Beames ; plurals 
of verbal inflexions, 298. Canarese and Telugu plurals, 299. Change 
of initial n in Telugu into m, 300. Harmonic changes. 

OHgin of Pluralising Particles, ..... 301, 302 

(1.) Origin o/b. nt'{y)-ir may mean thou + these people = you. Sans. 
yushme ; alternative explanation from ir, two, 301. (2.) Origin o/ m ; 
this w a relic of the copulative um; used like Latin que; nd-um, I + 
and = we, 302. Verbs similarly pluralised. 

Extra- Dravidian Relationship, ...... 303-307 

Finno-Ugrian analogies ; remarkable Aryan analogies ; n in the sin- 
gular of pronouns and m in the plural in North Indian vernaculars ; 
Pali-Prdkrit ; Mr Beames in Indian Antiquary, 304. Mr Gover's opi- 
nion ; Dr Pope's ; resemblance great, but only apparent, 305. Oldest 
forms of Greek and Sanskrit plurals of personal pronouns, 306. Expla- 
nation of sme ; sma found in singular, 307. In third person also. 

Twofold Plural of the Dravidian Pronoun of the First Person, . 308, 309 

Plural used as honorific singular; two plurals, the plural inclusive 
and the plural exclusive; similar distinction found in two North-Indian 
languages ; not found in Indo-European family ; found everywhere in 
Central Asia, 308. Usage in different Dravidian dialects ; conclusion ; 
results exhibited in following tables, 309. 

Paradigms, ........ 310-313 

Dravidian Pronoun of the First Person, . . , . 310 

,, ,, ,, Second Person, .... 311 
Pronoun of the First Person, in Seventeen Dialects of Central India ; 

Dr Hunter's " Comparative Dictionary," .... 312 
Pronoun of the Second Person, in Seventeen Dialects of Central India ; 

Dr Hunter's " Comparative Dictionary," . . . . 313 

Section II. — Demonstrative and Interrogative Pronouns, . . 314-327 

Difficult to treat these two classes of pronouns separately. 

1. Demonstrative and Interrogative Bases, . . , 314, 315 

1. Demonstrative Bases, . . . . . . 314 

Dravidian languages use for pronouns of the third person demonstra- 
tives signifying ' this ' and ' that,' man, &c. ; words which signify man, 
&c., have shrunk into terminations; four demonstrative bases recog- 
nised — remote, proximate, intermediate, and emphatic, 314. 

2. Interrogative Bases, . . . . . . 315 

Two classes of interrogatives — one an interrogative prefix, the other 
suffixed or added to the end of the sentence ; (a) e the most common 
interrogative prefix, 315. 

1. Paradigm of Demonstrative ajid Interrogative Prefixes, . . 316 

Beautiful regularity; Dravidian demonstratives, not borrowed from 
Sanskrit, but much older ; Old Japhetic bases ; (b) yd, the other inter- 



rogative base ; c probably weakened from yd, 316. Change of yd in 
Canarese into dd ; uses of this interrogative, 317. 

2. Demonstrative and Interrogative Pronouns, .... 318-321 

Bases best seen in neuter singular ; suffixes ; euphonic links of con- 
nection, 318. In Tamil v and n ; Telugu usage ; Tulu, 319. Tulu 
peculiarities ; Tamil abstract demonstrative and interrogative nouns, 
320. Neuter interrogative pronoun ; m or n used as a formative, 321. 
Origin of the copulative conjunction um ; Dr Gundert. 

3. Demonstrative and Interrogative Adjectives, .... 322-324 

Demonstrative and interrogative bases, when prefixed to substantives, 
acquii'e the meaning of adjectives ; initial consonant of substantive 
doubled, or prefixed vowel lengthened, 323. Tamil demonstrative adjec- 
tives atula, that, &c., 324. Telugu triplet. 

4. Demonstrative and Interrogative Adverbs, .... 325-329 

These formed by annexing formative suffixes to vowel bases, 325. 
Classes of adverbs arranged according to their formatives. List. 

(1.) Formative h, g, n ; (2.) Formative ch,j, n; (3.) Formative t, d, n, 
326. (4.) Formative t, d, n, also ndr ; (5.) Formative mh ; (6.) Forma- 
tive I, I. 

Demonstratives and interrogatives formed from / found in Telugu and 
Canarese ; are they also found in Tamil ? 327. Four meanings of el in 
Tamil, 328. Traces of il and al used as demonstratives; their use as 
negatives, 329. 

Affiliation of Demonstrative Bases : Extra- Dravidian Affinities, . 330 

North-Indian vernaculars ; Scythian languages ; closest analogies in 
Indo-European languages, 330. New Persian, 331. 

Interrogative Bases : Extra- Dravidian Relationsliip. 
No relationship apparent. 

Emphatic t, ....... . 332 

Use of this particle, 332. Tamil ; Tulu ; Hebrew ' he paragogic,' &c. 

Honorific Demonstrative Pronouns, ..... 333, 334 
Canarese and Telugu ; suspicion of Aryan influences, 333, 334. 

Syntactic Interrogatives A and o, . . . . . 335, 336 

Particles used for putting inquiries like * Is there ? ' use of these 
particles ; 6 instead of a in Malayalam ; 6 generally an expression of 
doubt, 335. 6 perhaps derived from d ; possible origin of the interro- 
gative a from the demonstrative a ; difi'erence in location, 336. 

Distributive Pronouns. 
How formed. 

III. Relative Pronouns, ...... 337 

Noticeable fact that this class of pronouns does not exist in the Dra- 
vidian languages ; relative participles used instead, 337. 



THE VERB, 338-451 

Remarks on structure of Dravidian verb ; 1. Many roots used either 
as verbs or nouns ; 2. Formative particles often added to roots, 338. 
3. Structure of verb agglutinative ; 4. Second person singular of impe- 
rative the shortest form ; 5. But one conjugation and few irregularities ; 
moods and tenses few; Tulu and Gond exceptional, 339, Conjugation 
does not equal that of ancient Scythian verb in simplicity ; Remusat, 
340. Antiquity of Tamilian culture ; origin of conjugational forms ; 
6. Compounds of verbs with prepositions unknown ; preposition-like 
words really nouns, 341. New shades of meaning imparted by gerunds. 

Section I.— Classification, ...... 342-371 

1. Transitives and Intransitives, ..... 342-340 

Two classes of Dravidian verbs ; Hungarian objective and subjective 
verbs, 342. Three modes in which intransitive verbs are converted into 
transitives ; 1. By hardening and doubling consonant of formative, 343. 
Illustrations ; Telugu ; apparent resemblance to Sanskrit, 344. Hebrew 
dagesh forte; 2. By doubling and hardening initial consonant of signs 
of tense ; illustrations, 345. Intransitives sometimes do the same, in 
Tamil only ; 3. By adding a particle of transition to root ; origin of 
this particle, 346. 4. By doubling and hardening certain final con- 

2. Causal Verbs, . . . . . . . 347-353 

Causals diflferent from transitives, 347. Indo-European languages here 
fall behind Dravidian ; double accusatives, 338. Causals formed from 
transitives ; one and the same causal particle in all the dialects, except 
Tulu and Gond ; this appears to be i, 349. Explanation of cJiu in Telugu 
inchu ; explanation of p of pinchu, 350. Canarese causal particle isn ; 
identity of Telugu and Canarese particles, 351. Caiisal particle in Tamil 
i preceded by v, b, or pp / origin of these preceding letters, 352. Tamil 
future tense-signs throw light on those letters ; Tamil future originally 
an abstract verbal noun, 353. 

Origin of Dravidian Causal Particle, i. . , . . 354 

Probably from t, to give, 354. 

3. Frequentative Verbs. • . . . . . . 355 

No peculiarity in their conjugation. 

4. Intensive Verb, ....... 355 

5. Inceptive Verb, . . . . . . , 355 

6. The Passive Voice, ...... 355-358 

Passive voice in Indo-European languages ; in Dravidian languages no 
passive voice, properly so cflled, 355. How the meaning of the passive 
IS expressed ; 1. It is expressed by the use of the intransitive verb ; 2. 



By appending auxiliary verbs meaning to become, to go, &c. ; verbal 
nouns much used in these passives ; third person neuter required ; simi- 
lar mode in Bengali ; use of active verbs as passives ; relative participial 
noun, 357. 3. Passive in Gond; 4. Formed by using the verb 'to eat' 
as an auxiliary ; this singular idiom in the Northern vernaculars also ; 
. 5. Much use is made of the auxiliary verb 'to suffer,' 358. This com- 
pound rather a phrase than a passive voice. 

7. The Middle Voice, ...... 359 

Only a few traces of such a voice appear, 359. 

8. The Negative Voice, ...... 360-365 

Combination of negative particle with verbal themes a Scythian pecu- 
liarity ; forms like Sanskrit ndsti very rare in Indo-European languages; 
Dravidian negative verb generally destitute of tenses; Tulu and Gdnd 
exceptions, 360. Rationale of absence of signs of tense ; Tamil pecu- 
liarity, 361. Telugu shows that the negative particle is a ; apparent 
exceptions, 362. Other dialects ; participial and imperative formatives, 
363. Mr A. D. Campbell, Dr Stevenson ; explanation of Telugu ku and 
yfca, 364. Prohibitive particle in classical Tamil, 365. Gond manni ; 
resemblance to Tamil min ; explanation of this. 

Origin of K, the Dravidian Negative Particle^ .... 366,367 

Not related to alpha privative ; equivalent to al, the particle of nega- 
tion ; illustrations; Dr Gundert, 366. a probably the primitive shape, 
al the secondary ; Dr Gundert, 367. al a negative in itself, not merely 
when followed by a vowel ; illustrations of force of al and il in Tamil ; 
prohibitive particles in other languages. 

9. Appellative Verbs or Conjugated Nouns, . . . 3G8-371 

Appellative compounds in Ugrian languages ; Mordvin, 368, Agree- 
ment with Dravidian appellative verbs remarkable ; Professor Hunfalvy , 
illustrations, 369. Telugu appellative verb ; Tamil more highly deve- 
loped, 370. Adjectives as well as nouns formed into appellatives, 371. 

Section IL— Conjugational System, ..... 372-441 

Mode of annexing Pronominal Signs, ..... 372-376 

Pronominal terminations suffixed, not directly to root, but to signs 
of tense, 372. 1. Personal signs suffixed, not prefixed; position of pro- 
noun in old Turanian dialects ; position in Buriat, in Semitic, in modern 
Indo-European dialects, 373. Position in Malay^lani ; 2. Dravidian 
personal signs suffixed, not to root, but to temporal particles ; three 
elements in every Tamil verb, 374. In Indo-European languages pro- 
nominal signs not appended to participles : Turkish, Bengali, 375. 3. 
In Telugu third person sometimes left destitute of conjugational signs ; 
similar usage in several other languages. 4. Traces in Tamil and Canar- 
ese of very primitive system of conjugation, 376. Dravidian verb 
appears to have been originally uninflected ; 5. distinctions of gender in 
Dravidian verb peculiarly minute. 

Formation of the Tenses, ...... 377-380 

Participles must first be investigated. 


XXXV 11 


Verbal Participles, their Signification and Force, . . . 377 

Verbal participles explained ; name not quite appropriate. 

1 . Present Verbal Participle ; illustration. 

2. Preterite do. do., do., 378. 

Sanskrit participle in tvd ; Dravidian participles continuative ; native 
definition ; Turanian participles ; Mr Edkins, 379. 

1. The Present Tense, ....... 380 

(1.) How formed in poetical Tamil ; (2.) Tamil and Malayalam seem 
formerly to have had a present participle ; (3.) Canarese usage ; (4.) 
Telugu usage, 380. 

Formation of the Present, ...... 381-385 

Canarese participle in ut ; Mr Kittel's explanation ; Old Canarese par- 
ticiple in c^a^, 381. Mr Kittel ; Telugu present participle; Tulu, 382. 
Sign of present tense in Tamil and Malayalam ; Old Tamil inscription ; 
Malayalam form the same somewhat modified, 383. Which is the more 
ancient Tamil form, giru? or gindru? 384. Explanation of gindru; 
Dr Graul's " Outlines of Tamil Grammar ; " present tense seldom used 
in Tamil poetry; Tuda, 385. 

The Preterite Tense, . ...... 386 

Semitic and Indo-European modes of forming preterite ; Dravidian 
mode, 386. Use of participles. 

1. Formation op Preterite by Reduplication of Final Consonant, . 387 

This mode confined to a small number of verbs ; how it differs from 
Indo-European reduplication, 387. 

2. Formation of Preterite by suffixing Particle or Sign of Past 

Time, ....... 

Each dialect to be examined seriatim. 
(1.) The Canarese Preterite, ..... 

Signs of past time i or d ; d the more characteristic, 388-391. 

(2.) The Tamil Preterite, . . . . . 

The same signs of time as in Canarese. 





(3.) The Malayalam Preterite, ...... 

Substantially as in Tamil ; misleading spelling ; in Dr Gundert's 
Grammar and Dictionary, and Brigel's " Grammar of Tulu," Lepsius's 
method adopted, 395. 

(4..) The Telugu Preterite, . . , . . .395,396 

Originally resembled Tamil, 395, 396. 

(5.) The Tulu Preterite, ....... 

Difference between imperfect and perfect. 

(6.) Preterites of Minor Dialects, ..... 

Tuda; Kota; Mr Metz,^Dr Pope; G6nd, 397. Conclusion; d, or 



some modification of it, the most characteristic sign of Dravidian pre- $ 

terite, ^ 

Origin of the Dravidian Sign of Past Time, .... 398-409 i 

1. Origin ofi, ........ 398 J 

Originally a vowel of conjunction ; compare Sanskrit and Latin, 398. \ 

2. Origin of T), . . . . . . . . 399-402 I 

Is it remotely connected with Indo-European suffix of passive parti- '} 

ciple ? certainly not borrowed from it ; Bengali preterite I ; Max Miiller ; } 

Bopp, 399. New Persian ; modern Teutonic preterite d ; Turkish pre- i 

terite di or d ; Hungarian d ; Finnish t, 400, May not this sign of the J 

preterite have had its origin in the Dravidian languages themselves? % 

Dr Graul's " Outlines of Tamil Grammar;" the d of adu, the demon- % 

strative, 401. Explanation of Turkish preterite di ; Max Miiller ; Mon- \^ 

golian gerund in d ; Mr Edkins, 402. \ 

3. The Future Tense, ....... 403-406 \ 

Difference between formation of preterite and that of future ; two ; 

futures ; future the least distinctive tense ; form of the Tamil future \ 

surviving in the poets, 403. Ordinary mode of forming the future, 404. \ 

Aoristic future in um, 405. Future formed on the basis of the formed i 

verbal theme ; altogether impersonal, 406. u instead of um ; probably 1 

the basis of the conjunctive. % 

Future Vtrhal Participle, . . .... 407, 408 ; 

Use of the participle in classical Tamil and Malaydlam, 407. Changes i 

in its initial consonant ; Cauarese and Telugu aoristic futures, 408. 'j 

2. The more Distinctive Future, . . . . .409 ] 

Telugu and Canarese forms. 

Affinities of the Sign of the Future, . . . . ,409 

Bengali fixture ; Latin future ; Max Miiller ; Ugrian affinities ; no 

affinities reliable, 409. . J 

4. Compound Tenses, . . . . . . . 410 ; 

Mode of formation. 

The Relative Participle, ,,.... 410-412 J 

Dravidian languages have no relative pronoun ; use a participle in- | 

stead ; how North Indian vernaculars express meaning of relative, 410. 1 

Explanation ; suffix of relative participle ; a most largely used ; Canar- "^ 

ese use, 411, Adjectives formed by means of the same suffix, 412. ii 

Oi^igin of the Relative Suffixes, . . , . . . 413 \ 

A possessive case-sign originally ; Manchu illustrates this ; Chinese ; • 

Mr Edkins ; light thrown on this part of speech by non-Aryan languages ; 

of Asia, 413, Use of relative pronoun, in Turkish and Finnish, I 

Formation of Moods, ....... 414-427 I 

Properly speaking, only one mood, 414. '! 



1. The Conditional or Subjunctive, ..... 415-418 
Dravidian subjunctive formed by postfixing a particle expressing con- 
dition ; two forms in Tulu, 415. Telugu conditionals eni and ^, 416. 
Ancient Tamil conditional in il or in ; use of dgil, 417. Third form 
postfixes Ml; meaning of kdl ; fourth form in dl, 418. dl sign of instru- 
mental case ; origin of dl, 

2. The Imperative, ....... 419-421 

Second person singular imperative identical with root, 419. Impera- 
tive of transitives differing from that of intransitives ; particles added to 
imperative in Telugu and Tamil ; Canarese imperative, 420. Tamil 
imperative second person plural; um, used as a conjunctive and as a 
continuative ; plural imperative in classical Tamil, 421. Tam. and Mai. 
in and Old Canarese im identical ; Dr Gundert ; Gesenius ; Hebrew 

3. The Infinitive, . . . . . . . 422-425 

The true Dravidian infinitive a verbal noun incapable of being de- 
clined, 422. Various forms of the infinitive ; Max Miiller's supposition, 

423. Formation of infinitive, 424. a alone the normal formative of 
Dravidian infinitive ; origin of infinitive in (/a in classical Tamil, 425. 
Telugu and Canarese infinitives. 

Origin of the Infinitive Suffix a, . . . . , 426 

Probably identical with a, the demonstrative base ; connection be- 
tween a and al, 426. 

Use of the Infinitive, . . . . . . .427 

Used in five ways ; illustrations of each, 427. Connection between 
infinitive and verbal noun in al ; Gond infinitive ; Armenian affinity. 

Formation of Verbal Nouns, ...... 428-441 

Two classes of Dravidian verbal nouns — participial and verbal nouns, 
properly so called, 428. 

1. Participial Nouns, ..... . 420-438 

Formation of participial nouns ; neuter singular used in three different 
significations, 429. Analogy between these nouns and infinitives ; 
abstract participial nouns in Tamil and Malayalam ; abstract appellative 
nouns, 430. 

2. Verbal Noujis, ....... 431 

Such nouns express the act, not the abstract ; derivative nouns differ- 
ent from verbal nouns; illustrations, 431. 

3. Derivative Nouns, ... ... 432-438 

Various classes ; mode of formation of each class, 432. Four purposes 
served by the doubling of final consonants ; mode of formation of deriva- 
tive nouns, continued, 433-435. Alphabetical list of formatives used in 
the formation of derivatives, with illustrations, 436-438. 

4. Nouns nf Agency, . • . . . . . . 439, 440 



*, the suffix of Dravidian nouns of agency, resembles Sanskrit, but not 
borrowed from it, 440. 

Adverbs, . . . . . . . . 441 

Every Dravidian adverb either a noun or a verb, 441. 

Comparative Pabadigm of a Dravidian Verb, .... 442-451 



Comparison of vocables of less importance than comparison of gram- 
matical forms and structure, but useful when carefully conducted ; tes- 
timony of comparative vocabulary as to position occupied by Dravidian 

Section I. — Indo-European Affinities, .... 452-465 

1. Indebtedness of Sanskrit to the Dravidian Languages, . . 452-465 

Extraneous questions to be set aside, 452. Statement of the question 
at issue ; British words in English ; Greek and Latin in Sanskrit, 453. 
Six rules for detecting Dravidian words in Sanskrit lexicons. 

Words probably borrowed by Sanskrit from the Dravidian tongues, alpha- 
betically arranged, 454-461, Names of places not included; origin of 
name Malaya, 461, Remarks in Journal of American Oriental Society 
on this subject ; Professor Benfey's views, 462, Dr Gundert's views in 
Journal of German Oriental Society, 463, 

Selections from Dr Gundert's list of words, alphabetically arranged, 464. 
Selections from a list of similar words by Mr Kittel in the Indian Anti- 
quary, 465, 

2. Sanskrit Affinities, . . , . , , ,466 

Words which appear to be the common property of Sanskrit and the 
Dravidian languages, 467. 

List of such words alphabetically arranged, 467-474. 

3. Extra- Sanskritic or West Indo-European Affinities, , . . 474 

List of words, alphabetically arranged, which appear to bear a closer 
resemblance to the non-Sanskritic members of the Indo-European family 
than to Sanskrit, 475-490. 

Section II, — Semitic Affinities, ..... 491-495 

Resemblances between Dravidian and Hebrew words interesting, but 
scarcely such as to establish relationship, 491. Alphabetical list of such 
words, 492-495. 

Section III. -Scythian Affinities, ..... 496-509 

These aflEinities clearer and more direct than Indo-European or Semitic 
affinities ; vocabularies of the Scythian languages present extraordinary 
divergences, 496, Alphabetical list of words, 497-507. Hungarian affi- 



nities ; Dr Gundert's, 508. Chinese, Japanese, and Mongolian affinities ; 
Mr Edkins's book ; Max Miiller's remarks ; these affinities adduced as 
aids to inquiry, 509. 

APPENDIX,' . 510-597 

I. Minor Dravidian Dialects and Brahui, .... 510-521 

1. Tuda. Information derived from Dr Pope, Mr Metz, and Colonel Mar- 
shall, 510. Dr Pope's conclusions respecting Tuda; 2. K6ta ; who are 
the Kotas ? paradigm of pronoun and verb ; resemblance to Ancient 
Canarese, 512. 3. Gdnd; publications by Mr Driberg and Mr Dawson ; 
particulars in which Gond agrees with Telugu and Canarese ; more 
numerous particulars in which it agrees with Tamil, 513. Particulars 
in which it takes a course of its own, 514, 515. 4. Ku; Mr Latchmaji's 
Grammar; Note. — agreements and disagreements with other idioms, 516. 

5. HdjmaMl; list of words defective ; contains Dravidian element, 517. 

6. Ordon; Mr Batsch's " Grammar and Vocabulary ; " OrS,on more dis- 
tinctively Dravidian, 518. Dravidian words in Or^on ; 7. Dravidian 
element in Brahui. Dr Bellew's book, 518. Brahut contains many Scy- 
thian elements, some distinctively Dravidian, 519. Illustrations of the 
Dravidian element, 520. Difference between Brahut and languages of 
the North-Eastern frontier, 521. 

II. Remarks on the Philological Portion of Mr Gover's "Folk- 

Songs OF Southern India," ..... 622-535 

Real nature of the theory respecting the relationship of the Dravidian lan- 
guages to the languages of the Scythian group advocated in the first 
edition of this work. Reprint of an article in Madras Mail, 1872. 
Literary merits of Mr Gover's book, 522. Advance in philological 
science since issue of first edition of this work, 523. I ittle advance out- 
side the Aryan family, 524. Dr Caldwell's theory explained, 525. Illus- 
trative quotations, 526. That theory wide enough to include Mr Gover's 
theory, 527. Criticism in Journal of American Oriental Society ; any 
attempt to prove Dravidian languages distinctively Aryan will be open 
to keen scrutiny, 528. Origin of Dravidian word for ' devil/ 529-31. 
Dravidian words for 'light,' 532-33. Consequences of Scythic theory 
not so serious as Mr Gover supposed ; Dr Farrar, 534. Earliest Aryans 
and earliest Turanians not widely different, 535. 

III. SuNDARA Pandta, ....... 535-540 

Extracts from Muhammedan historians referred to in Introduction ; 

passages from Rashiduddin, 535. Passages from Wassaf, 536. Who was 
Kales Dewar ? 537. Mr Rhys Davids's extract from Singhalese records 
respecting king Kula^ekhara, 538. Occurrence in two different connec- 
tions of the same three names, 539. Invasion of Malik Kafur, 540. 

IV. Are the Pariars (Pareiyas) of Southern India Dravidians? . 540-554 
Supposition that the lower classes of Southern India are not Hindiis, 

540. * Hindu' has become a term of religion, 541. Discrepancies in use of 
this term ; University use ; Mr Beames, 542. Are Shanars not HindHs ? 
Supposition of Europeans respecting origin of Pareiyas, 543. Origin of 
* mixed castes' fictitious ; cj^ldren of dancing-girls, 544. Pareiyas have 
a caste of their own ; numbers, 545. Are Pareiyas Dravidians ? Theory 




that they are pre-Dravidians, 546. Arguments in support of this theory, 
547. Special privileges enjoyed by lower castes ; Mr Walhouse, 548. 
Meaning of name Pareiya, 549. Meaning of corresponding Telugu, Mala, 
and Malayalam Puleiya, 550. Still stronger arguments adducible against 
this theory, 553, 552. Eflfect of caste differences, 553. Essential unity 
of all Dravidian dialects argues unity of race, 554. 

v. Abe THE Neilgherry (NiLAGiRi) TuDAS Deavidians ? . . 555-557 

Much more known now about the Tudas ; Mr Metz ; Dr Pope ; Colo- 
nel Marshal], 555. Reasons for supposing the Tudas a different race from 
their neighbours, 556. Those reasons inadequate, 557. Tudas probably 
Dravidians, 558. 

VI. Dravidian Physical Type, ...... 558-578 

Conclusion derived from lingual comparison; Gdnds belong to the 

same race ; have the Gonds degenerated, or the South-Indian Dravidians 
risen ? 558. Mr Hodgson's comparison of Aryan and Tamilian types ; 
Professor Max Miiller's statement, 559. Puranic statements ; Dravi- 
dians of the South not Nishadas, 560. Quatrefage's theory ; differences 
in feature accounted for, 561. Type of higher classes ; Tuda type, 562, 
Colour of skin not necessarily unaccountable, 563, Blackening influence 
of heat ; local illustration, 564, Shanars ; Portuguese ; Brahmans, 565. 
Strabo and Herodotus ; peculiar blackness of Puleiyas on Malabar coast 
not easily accounted for, 566, G8nd type, Negrito or Mongolian ? Mr 
Hislop, 567, Central Provinces Gazetteer; mental development of 
Gonds, 5QS. Ascent from Mongolian type to Caucasian not unknown ; 
Indian Muhammedans, 569. Dr Carpenter's remarks on European 
examples of this ascent, 570. Magyar type, 571. Mongolian-looking 
Indian tribes entered by north-east; statement of Periplus, 572. Colo- 
nel Dalton's photographs; Sir George Campbell's " Ethnology of India," 
573. Supposes the majority of South Indians of good caste to be Aryans; 
little or no ethnological objection to this theory, 574. Historical and 
linguistic difficulties numerous, 575. Statement of those difficulties, 

VII. Ancient Religion of the Dravidians, .... 579-597 
Religious usages of ancient Aryans, 579. Demonolatry of primitive 

Dravidians; Shamanism ; Note. — origin of word * Shaman,' 580. Pecu- 
liarities of Shamanite worship ; Note. — Demonolatry of Ceylon; demo- 
niacal element even in the Veda; explanation of sacrifice of Daksha, 
681. Quotations illustrative of Shamanism from Marco Polo, Mr Hodg- 
son and others, 582-84. Shanar demonolatrous rites, 585. Similar 
system in Mj'sore; also in Chutid Nagptir, 586. Substantial identity of 
the two demonolatries, 587. Religion of the Khonds ; religion of the 
Tudas, 588. Colonel Marshall's researches and explanations, 589-90. 
Certain so-called Druidical remains erroneously attributed to the Tudas ; 
Note. — Glazed pottery ; Dr Hunter, 591. Antiquity of the cairns, 592. 
Discovery of similar cairns in many other places, 593. Different kinds 
of cairns ; information supplied by Mr Metz, 593. Hindus of the plains 
know nothing of the people who disposed of their dead in this manner ; 
meaning of Tamil names for cairns, 594. Malayalam name, 595. Theo- 
ries respecting origin of people referred to, 696. General conclusion 
respecting religion of ancient Dravidians, 597. 




It is the object of tlie following work to examine and compare the 
grammatical principles and forms of the various Dravidian languages, 
in the hope of contributing to a more thorough knowledge of their 
primitive structure and distinctive character. In pursuing this object, 
it will be the writer's endeavour to point out everything which appears 
likely to throw any light on the question of the relation which this 
family of languages bears to the principal families or groups into which 
the languages of Europe and Asia have been divided. 

Whilst the grammatical structure of each Dravidian language and 
dialect will be investigated and illustrated in a greater or less degree, 
in proportion to its importance and to the writer's acquaintance with 
it, it will be his special and constant aim to throw light upon the 
structure of Tamil — a language which he has for more than thirty- 
seven years studied and used in the prosecution of his missionary 
labours, and which is probably the earliest cultivated, and most highly 
developed, of the Dravidian languages — in many respects the repre- 
sentative language of the family. 

The idioms which are included in this word under the general term 
' Dravidian,' constitute the vernacular speech of the great majority of 
the inhabitants of Southern India. With the exception of Orissa, and 
those districts of Western India and the Dekhan in which Gujar^ti 
and Marathi are spoken, the whole of the peninsular portion of India, 
from the Vindhya mountains and the river Nerbudda (Narmadd) 
to Cape Comorin (Kuraari), is peopled, and from the earliest period 
appears to have been peopled, by different branches of one and the 
same race, speaking different dialects of one and the same language — 
the language to which the term ' Dravidian ' is here applied ; and 
scattered offshoots from ttie same stem may be traced still farther 


north, as far as the Rajmahal hills in Bengal, and even as far as the 
mountain fastnesses of Beluchistan. 

Gujarati, Marathi (with its ojffshoot, Konkanl), and Oriya, the 
language of Odra-d^sa, or Orissa, idioms which are derived from 
the decomposition of Sanskrit, form the vernacular speech of the 
Hindti population in the peninsular portion of India within their 
respective limits : besides which, and besides the Dravidian lan- 
guages, various idioms which cannot be termed indigenous or verna- 
cular are spoken or occasionally used by particular classes resident in 
Peninsular India. 

Sanskrit, though it is improbable that it ever was the vernacular 
language of any district of country, whether in the north or in the 
south, is in every southern district read, and to some extent understood, 
by the Brahmans — the descendants of those Brahmanical colonists of 
early times to whom the Dravidians appear to have been indebted for the 
higher arts of life and a considerable portion of their literary culture. 
Such of the Brahmans as not only retain the name, but also discharge 
the functions of the priesthood, and devote themselves to professional 
studies, are generally able to converse in Sanskrit, though the verna- 
cular language of the district in which they reside is that which they 
use in their families, and with which they are most familiar. They 
are styled, with reference to the language of their adopted district, 
Dravida Brahmans, Andhra Brahmans, Karnataka Brithmans, &c. ; and 
the Brahmans of the several language-districts have virtually become 
distinct castes ; but they are all undoubtedly descended from one and 
the same stock, and Sanskrit, though now regarded only as an accom- 
plishment or as a professional acquirement, is properly the literary 
dialect of their ancestral tongue. 

Hindiistani is the distinctive language of the Muhammedan portion 
of the population in the Dekhan — most of which consists of the descen- 
dants of those warlike Patens, or Afghans, and other Muhammedans 
from Northern India by whom most of the peninsula was overrun 
some centuries ago. It may almost be regarded as the vernacular lan- 
guage in some parts of the Hyderabad country ; but generally through- 
out Southern India the middle and lower classes of the Muhammedans 
make as much use of the language of the district in which they 
reside as of their ancestral tongue, if not more. Hindustani was 
never the ancestral language of the class of southern Muhammedans 
generally called by the English * Lubbies,' but by natives on the 
eastern coast Sonagas (Yavanas), and by those on the western coast 
Mappillas. These are descendants of Arab merchants and their native 
converts, and speak Tamil or Malayalam. 


Hebrew is used by the small colony of Jews resident in Cocliin and 
the neighbourhood, in the same manner and for the same purposes as 
Sanskrit is used by the Brahmans. GujarMi and Marathi are spoken 
by the Gujarati bankers and the P^rst shopkeepers who reside in the 
principal towns in the peninsula. The mixed race of ' country-born' 
Portuguese are rapidly forgetting (except in the territory of Goa itself) 
the corrupt Portuguese which their fathers and mothers were accus- 
tomed to speak, and learning English instead; whilst French still 
retains its place as the language of the French employes and their 
descendants in the settlements of Pondicherry (Puduchch^ri), Carrical 
(K^reikkal), and Mah6 (Mayyuri), which still belong to France. 

Throughout the British territories in India, English is not only the 
language of the governing race, and of its * East-Indian,' Eurasian, or 
* Indo-British ' offshoot, but is also used to a considerable and rapidly 
increasing extent by the natives of the country in the administration 
of justice and in commerce ; and in the Presidency of Madras and the 
principal towns it has already won its way to the position which was 
formerly occupied by Sanskrit as the vehicle of all higher learning. 
Neither English, however, nor any other foreign tongue, appears to 
have the slightest chance of becoming the vernacular speech of any 
portion of the inhabitants of Southern India. The indigenous Dravi- 
dian languages, which have maintained their ground for more than two 
thousand years against Sanskrit, the language of a numerous, powerful, 
and venerated sacerdotal race, may be expected successfully to resist the 
encroachments of every other tongue.* 

* I admit with Sir Erskine Perry (see his paper in the Journal of the Royal 
Asiatic Society), that English, the language of the governing race, ought to 
be employed as the language of public business in every part of British India ; 
and I am certain that this end could be attained in a very short time by simply 
requiring every candidate for Government employment, from the highest to the 
lowest, to pass an examination in English. The natives would everywhere adapt 
themselves to this arrangement, not only without reluctance, but with alacrity 
and pleasure ; and English schools and other facilities for the acquisition of Eng- 
lish would multiply apace, as soon as it was found that the new rule could not be 

[I leave the above paragraph unaltered, as a memento of the time when it was 
written (1855), though it would scarcely be necessary now to make any such 
recommendation, in so far, at least, as the Presidency of Madras is concerned. In 
1861 a General Test Examination was instituted for the examination in general 
knowledge, including a knowledge of English, of all candidates for employment 
in the public service, in situations to which salaries of Es, 25 per mensem and up- 
wards were attached. In 1867 the rule was made applicable to salaries of Es. 20 
per mensem and upwards. TJJiis arrangement has been productive of much 
advantage both to the public service and to the community, even in the rural 


Use op the Common Term *Dravidian.* 

I have designated the languages now to be subjected to comparison 
by a common term, because of the essential and distinctive grammatical 
characteristics which they all possess in common, and in virtue of 
which, joined to the possession in common of a large number of roots 
of primary importance, they justly claim to be considered as springing 
from a common origin, and as forming a distinct family of tongues. 

This family was at one time styled by European writers ' Tamulian ' 
or * Tamulic ; ' but though Tamil is probably the oldest and most highly 
cultivated member of the family, and that which contains the largest 
proportion of the family inheritance of forms and roots ; yet as it is, 
after all, but one dialect out of several, and does not claim to be the 
original speech out of which the other dialects have been derived ; as 
it is also desirable to reserve the terms ' Tamil ' and ' Tamilian ' (or as 
they used sometimes to be erroneously written * Tamul ' and ' Tamul- 
ian ') to denote the Tamil language itself and the people by whom it is 
spoken, I have preferred to designate this entire family by a term 
which is capable of a wider application. 

One of the earliest terms used in Sanskrit to designate the family 
seems to have been that of Andhra-Brdvida-hhdshd, ' the Telugu- 
Tamil language,'* or rather, perhaps, ^ the language of the Telugu and 

districts, and I doubt not that the Government will ere long give the rule a still 
wider range of application.] 

I do not think, however, that English is likely ever to become the vernacular 
language of any class of the Hindtls, or even that it is likely to be used to any 
considerable extent as a lingua franca beyond the circle of Government employes 
and the alumni of the universities. Before we can reasonably anticipate the 
employment of English as a conventional language, like Latin in the middle ages, 
or French in the more modern period in Europe, or like Hindtistani in the greater 
part of India since the period of Muhammedan supremacy, the number of the 
English resident in India should bear a much larger proportion to the mass of 
the inhabitants. That proportion is at present infinitesimally small — e.g., the 
population of the two collectorates, or provinces, in Southern India with which I 
am best acquainted — Tinnevelly and Madura — amounts to very nearly four 
milliong : the number of Englishmen (and Americans) resident in those two pro- 
vincea iB under a hundred and fifty ! and that number includes the judges and 
magistrates who administer justice in those provinces, the oiB&cers of a single 
regiment of sepoys, a few planters and merchants, and the missionaries belonging 
to three missionary societies ! Including women and children, the number is 
considerably under two hundred, with which handful of English people we have 
to contrast four millions of Hindiis ! 

* See an interesting article in the Indian Antiquary for October 1872, by Dr 
Burnell, M.C.S, " Kumftrila says, * It is now considered : — (as regards) words 
which are not known to the inhabitants of Arydvarta (not Sanskrit), if they have 


Tamil countries.' This term is used by Kumarila-bhatta, a controver- 
sial Brahman writer of eminence, who is supposed to have lived at the 
end of the seventh century a.d. j and, though vague, it is not badly 
chosen, Telugu and Tamil being the dialects spoken by the largest 
number of people in Southern India. Canarese was probably supposed 
to be included in Telugu, and Malay^lam in Tamil; and yet both 
dialects, together with any sub-dialects that might be included in them, 
were evidently regarded as forming but one bhdshd. 

The word I have chosen is ' Dravidian,' from Dr^vida, the adjectival 
form of Dravida. This term, it is true, has sometimes been used, and is 
still sometimes used, in almost as restricted a sense as that of Tamil 
itself, so that though on the whole it is the best term I can find, I 
admit that it is not perfectly free from ambiguity. It is a term, how- 
ever, which has already been used more or less distinctively by Sans- 
krit philologists, as a generic appellation for the South Indian peoples 
and their languages, and it is the only single term they seem ever to 
have used in this manner. I have, therefore, no doubt of the pro- 
priety of adopting it. 

Manu says (x. 43, 44) : " The following tribes of Kshatriyas have 
gradually sunk into the state of Vrishalas (outcasts), from the extinc- 
tion of sacred rites and from having no communication with Br^h- 
mans, viz. — Paundrakas, Odras, Dravidas, K^mbojas, Yavanas, S'akas, 

a meaning known to the BllecJicha (the aboriginal tribes ?), is that to be accepted 
or not ? ' He suggests (but only to reject the notion) that by applications of 
affixes, &c,, it may be possible to convert them into Sanskrit words. ... Of the 
examples he gives, the first word cMr is the Tamil cMr-u, and means, as Kuma- 
rila states, boiled rice ; nader, way, is the Tamil nadai. So pdmp, snake, is per- 
fectly correct. (The text has pdp, but the MSS. have pdmp. In Tamil it is 
written pdmpu, though pronounced ^am6w.) <2Z=^ person, and vair — vayivu, the 
belly, are common Tamil words, and their meanings are correctly given. It must, 
however, be remarked that the consonantal terminations of chdr, pdmp, and vair, 
have now assumed a vowel ending, which is written u, but is pronounced in a 
vague and indeterminate manner." Dr Burnell remarks, " KumS,rila's evident 
acquaintance with this South Indian dialect (Tamil) is worth notice, as he is said 
to have been a native of the south." (T^ranS-tha, " History of Indian Buddhism.") 
The words Kum^rila cites are mostly Tamil, not Telugu or Canarese. na^e is 
Telugu as well as Tamil, but chdv-u and vayir-u are not in Telugu. The former 
is not in Canarese, and the latter appears under the shape of hasir-u. 'pdmbu, 
Tamil, is pdvu in Canarese, and pdmu in Telugu. dl, in Canarese and Tamil, 
means a person ; dl-u, in Telugu, a woman. Kum§,rila, however, calls dl, stri- 
pratyayam, a feminine affix (in grammar). The affix of the third person feminine 
singular in Tamil, Malayalam, and Old Canarese is dl. Telugu occasionally uses 
dl-u in a similar manner, but generally it uses the neut. sing, affix for the fem. 
sing. Kumarila cites the leng^iened form dl instead of al, apparently because it 
is in that shape that the affix appears in verbs — e.g., p6n-dl, she went. 


P^radas, Pahlavas, Chinas, Kir^tas, Daradas, and Khasas." Of the 
tribes here mentioned the only tribe belonging to Southern India is that 
of the Dravidas. This name, therefore, appears to have been supposed 
to denote the whole of the South Indian tribes. If any of those tribes 
were not intended to be included, it would probably be the Andhras, 
the Telugus of the interior, who had already been mentioned by name 
in the Aitareya Brahmana, and classed with Pundras, Sabaras, and 
Pulindas, as degraded descendants of Visvaraitra. The same state- 
ment is made in the Maha-bh^rata ; and in the two lists of degraded 
Kshatriyas therein given, the Dravidas are the only South Indian tribe 
mentioned. It must be concluded, therefore, that the term is generi- 
cally used, seeing that the more specific names of P^ndyas, Cholas, &c. , 
had become well known in Northern India by that time. Doubtless 
it is in the same sense that Satyavrata, the Indian Noah, is called in the 
Bh^gavata Purina 'the lord of Dravida' (Muir's "Sanskrit Texts," vol. i.) 
The more distinctively philological writers of a later period used 
the term Dravida in what appears to be substantially the same sense 
as that in which I propose that it should be used. The principal 
Prakrits — that is, colloquial dialects — of ancient India were the Maha- 
r^shtri, the Sauraseni, and the M^igadhi. Amongst minor or less 
known Prakrit dialects the DrUvidi, or language of the Dravidas, was 
included. A Sanskrit philologist quoted by Muir (vol. ii. 46) speaks 
of the language of Dravida as a vibhdshd, or minor Prakrit; and 
another (p. 50) speaks of 'the language proper to Dravidas' (in which 
persons of that race should be represented as speaking in dramas) as 
the Dravidi. It is evident that we have here to understand not the 
Tamil alone, or any other South Indian language alone, but the 
Dravidian languages generally, supposed in a vague manner by North 
Indian writers to constitute only one tongue. This language of the 
Dravidas was evidently included in what was called the Paisachi 
Prakrit, a name which appears to have been applied promiscuously 
to a great number of provincial dialects, including dialects so widely 
difi'ering from one another as ' the language of the Pandyas ' (Tamil), 
and ' that of the Bhotas ' (Tibetan). The only property these languages 
can have possessed in common must have been the contempt in which 
they were held by Brahman philologists, in virtue of which it must have 
been that they were styled also Paisachi, the language of pisdchas, or 
demons. The more accurate term Dravidi has continued to be used 
occasionally by northern scholars up to our own time. As late as 
1854, the learned HindU philologist Babu Bajendra L^l Mitra (quoted 
by Muir, vol. ii. 127), speaks of the 'Dravidi' as one of the recog- 
nised Prakrits, equally with the Sauraseni, and as being, like it, the 


parent of some of the present vernaculars of India. It thus appears 
that the word ' Dr^vida/ from which the term * Dravidian ' has been 
formed, though sometimes used in a restricted sense, as equivalent to 
Tamil, is better fitted, notwithstanding, for use as a generic term ; inas- 
much as it not only has the advantage of being more remote from 
ordinary usage, and somewhat more vague, but has also the further and 
special advantage of having already been occasionally used by native 
philologists in a generic sense. By the adoption of this term * Dra- 
vidian,' the word ' Tamilian ' has been left free to signify that which 
is distinctively Tamil. 

When, the Babu referred to some of the present vernaculars as 
having originated in the so-called Dravidi-Prakrit, the dialects to 
which he referred were doubtless those which have sometimes been 
styled by the North Indian Pandits ' the five Dr^viras.' The colloquial 
languages of modern India are divided by the Pandits into two classes, 
each containing five dialects. These are denominated respectively 
*the five Gauras' and 'the five Dr^viras.' By the Gauda or G4ura 
languages are meant the 'bhash^s,' or popular dialects of Northern 
India, at the head of which stands the Bangui, the G^ura proper. At 
present Bangali, Oriya, Hindi, with its daughter Hindustani, Panj^bi, 
Sindhi, Gujar^ti, and Marathi are the languages which may be re- 
garded as forming the ' Gaurian ' class ; to which I would add Cash- 
mirian, MdrwM, Assamese, and the court language of Nepal, thus 
reckoning in this class eleven idioms instead of five. The five Dravidas 
or Driiviras, according to the Pandits, are * the Telinga, the Karn^taka, 
the Marathi, the Gurjara, and the Drclvira,' or Tamil proper. The 
S'abda-kalpa-druma (Calcutta) gives the list thus : Dravida, Karn^ta, 
Gujar^ta, Mahar^shta, and Telinga. The Marathi and Gujarati are 
erroneously included in this enumeration. It is true that the Maha- 
rashtra or Marathi contains a small admixture of Dravidian roots and 
idioms, as might be expected from its local proximity to the Telugu 
and the Canarese ; and both it and the Gurjara, or GujarMi, possess 
certain features of resemblance to the languages of the South, which 
are possibly derived from the same or a similar source ; but, notwith- 
standing the existence of a few analogies of this nature, those two 
languages differ from the Dravidian family so widely and radically, 
and are so closely allied to the northern group, that there cannot be* 
any hesitation in transferring them to that class. The three languages 
that remain in the classification of Dravidian tongues contained in the 
northern lists, viz., the Karn^taka or Canarese, the Telinga or Telugu, 
and the Dravida propej or Tamil, are not only members, but are 


certainly the principal members, of the Southern or Dravidian family. 
It will be observed that MalayMam and Tulu are not contained in the 
Sanskrit enumeration. The first was probably considered to be a 
dialect of Tamil, and was included in the denomination of the Dr^vida 
proper; the second was probably unknown, or was erroneously con- 
sidered a dialect of Canarese. The uncultivated dialects — the Tuda, 
K6ta, G6nd, and Khond — appear to have been unknown to the 
Pandits; and even had they been known, probably would not have 
been deemed worthy of notice. 

No term belonging to the Dravidian languages themselves has ever 
been used to designate all the members of this family, nor are the 
native Tamil or Telugu grammarians, though deeply skilled in the 
grammar of their own tongues, sufficiently acquainted with comparative 
grammar to have arrived at the conclusion that all these idioms have 
a common origin and require to be designated by a common term. 
Some European scholars, who have confined their attention to the 
study of some one Dravidian idiom exclusively, have fallen into the 
same misapprehension of supposing these languages independent one of 
another. The Sanskrit Pandits seem to have had a clearer perception 
of grammatical affinities and differences than the Dravidian gram- 
marians ; and, though their generalisation was not perfectly correct, 
it has furnished us with the only common terms India possesses for 
denoting the northern and southern families of the Indian languages 

It is not clear whether Var^ha-mihira (a.d. 404) regarded the term 
' Dravida ' as generic or specific. [See Kern's translation of the 
Brihat-samhit^, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. '\ He places the 
Dravidas in the south-west, but mentions also an ' eastern half of the 
Dravidas.' The western half may have been on the Malabar coast. 
Par^sara placed the Dravidas in the east. This name seems to have 
been less firmly attached to a particular people than the more purely 
local and dynastic names of Chola, Pandya, &c. Varaha-mihira 
mentions * the Pandya king,' ' the king of Kalinga,' &c., but mentions 
* the Dravida kings ' in the plural. The local names he mentions are : 
Pandya, Chola, Kerala, Karn^taka, Kalinga, Andhra. He mentions 
Kdnchi (Kdnchi), KoUagiri (Quiloni North Malabar?), Lanka, the 
rivers Kav^ri and Tamraparnt, and the conch and pearl fisheries (in 
the Gulf of Manaar). In the Maha-bh^rata the Dravidas are dis- 
tinguished not only from the Kalingas, <fec., but even from the Ch61as. 
This is also the case in the Vishnu Purina. In this sense the 
term must have been intended to denote the P^ndyas alone. 


Enumeration of Dea vidian Languages. 

The idioms which I designate as * Dravidian ' are twelve in number, 
exclusive of the Brahui. They are as follows : — 

1. TamO. 

2. Malayajam. 

3. Telugu. 

1. Tuda. 

2. K8ta. 

3. G6nd. 

1. Cultivated Dialects. 

4. Canarese. 

5. Tulu. 

6. Kudagu or Coorg. 

2, Uncultivated Dialects. . 

4. Khond or Ku. 
6. Oraon. 
6. EajmaMl. 

I. Tamil. — This language being probably the earliest cultivated of 
all the Dravidian idioms, the most copious, and that which contains 
the largest portion and the richest variety of indubitably ancient forms, 
it is deservedly placed at the head of the list. It includes two dialects, 
the classical and the colloquial, or the ancient and the modern, called 
respectively the ' S'en-Damir ' and the ' Kodun-Damir,' which differ one 
from the other so widely that they might almost be regarded as 
different languages. The Tamil language is spoken throughout the 
vast plain of the Carnatic, or country below the Ghauts, from Pulicat 
to Cape Comorin, and from the Ghauts, or central mountain range of 
Southern India, to the Bay of Bengal. It is also spoken in the 
southern part of the Travancore country on the western side of the 
Ghauts, from Cape Comorin to the neighbourhood of Trivandrum ; 
and in the northern and north-western parts of Ceylon, where Tamil- 
ians commenced to form settlements prior even to the Christian era, 
and from whence they have gradually thrust out the Singhalese. All 
throughout Ceylon the coolies in the coffee plantations are Tamilians ; 
the majority of the money-making classes even in Colombo are Tami- 
lians ; and it seems not unlikely that ere long the Tamilians will have 
excluded the Singhalese from almost every profitable employment in 
their own island. The majority of the domestic servants of Europeans 
and of the camp-followers in every part of the presidency of Madras 
being Tamil people, Tamil is the prevailing language in all the military 
cantonments in Southern India, whatever be the vernacular language 
of the district. Hence, at Cannanore in the Malay Mam country, at 
Bangalore in the Canarese country, at Bellary in the Telugu country, 
and at Secunderabad, where Hindustani may be considered as the 
vernacular, the language which most frequently meets the ear in the 
bazaars is Tamil, 


The majority of the Kliiigs (Kalingas), or Hindus, who are found in 
Pegu, Penan g, Singapore, and other places in the further east, are 
Tamilians : a large proportion of the coolies who have eraigrated in 
such numbers to the Mauritius and to the West Indian colonies are 
Tamilians ; in short, wherever money is to be made, wherever a more 
apathetic or a more aristocratic people is waiting to be pushed aside, 
thither swarm the Tamilians, the Greeks or Scotch of the east, the least 
superstitious and the most enterprising and persevering race of Hindiis. 
Including Tamilians resident in military stations and distant colonies, 
and the Tamilian inhabitants of South Travancore, and Northern 
Ceylon, and excluding not only Muhammedans, &c., but also people of 
Telugu origin who are resident in the Tamil country, and who form pro- 
bably ten per cent, of the whole population, the people who speak the 
Tamil language may be estimated at about fourteen and a half millions. 

Madras, the chief city in the Tamil country, is also the chief city in 
the South Indian Presidency. The name by which it is known 
amongst natives everywhere is, not Madras, but Chennappa-pattanam, 
abbreviated into Chenna-pattanam, a name which it derived from Chen- 
nappa N^yakkar, father-in-law of the N^yakkar of Chinglepat, a petty 
local chieftain, a feudatory of the Chandragiri R^j4, from whom the 
English obtained possession of a little fort on the coast which they 
converted into a fortified factory. The origin of the name by which 
it appears always to have been called by Europeans — Madras (officially 
Madraspatam) — has never been made out with certainty. Perhaps the 
most probable derivation is from the Telugu maduru (Tamil madil), 
the surrounding wall of a fort, a rampart. There is a • neighbouring 
town, Sadras, originally a Dutch settlement, the name of which closely 
resembles Madras. Sadras is an European corruption from Sadurei, 
which is an abbreviation of Sadurangam ( = Sans. Chaturanga), the four 
constituent arms of an army. I have not been able to discover any 
authority for the statement sometimes made that Madras is derived from 

The proper spelling of the name Tamil is Tamir, but through the 
change of r into I it is often pronounced Tamil ; and is often (though 
erroneously) written Tamul by Europeans. Taraul is the mode of 
writing the name which appears to have been introduced by the 
French ; but the name given to the language by the Portuguese, and 
by which it was generally known amongst the earlier Europeans, was 
neither Tamul nor Tamil, but ' the Malabar ' — a name founded on a 

The Portuguese arrived first on the western coast of India, and 
naturally called the language they found spoken on that coast by the 


name by which the coast itself had long been called by their Arab 
predecessors — viz., Malabar. Sailing from Malabar on voyages of 
exploration, they made their acquaintance with various places on the 
eastern or Coromandel coast and also on the coast of Ceylon, and find- 
ing the language spoken by the fishing and sea-faring classes on the 
eastern coast similar to that spoken on the western, they came to the 
conclusion that it was identical with it, and called it in consequence by 
the same name — viz., Malabar, a name which has survived to our own 
day amongst the poorer classes of Europeans and Eurasians. The better 
educated members of those classes have long learned to call the lan- 
guage of the Malabar coast by its proper name Malay Mam, and the 
language of the eastern coast Tamil. Though the early Portuguese 
did not distinguish Malayalam from Tamil (just as the Sanskrit pan- 
dits failed to do), they noticed that it was distinct from Telugu, the 
language spoken by the * Badages,' as they called them, the YadugaSy 
Tam., or Badagas, Can., i.e. the northmen, the Telugu followers of the 
Nayakkas of Madura, who were then spreading themselves over the 
Tamil country, and even making irruptions into South Travancore. 
A circumstance which naturally confirmed the Portuguese in their 
notion of the identity of the people and language of the Coromandel 
coast with those of Malabar was, that when they arrived at Cael, 
in Tinnevelly, on the Coromandel coast (properly KHyal, see a note 
in Colonel Yule's " Marco Polo," vol. ii.), they found the king 
of Quilon (one of the most important places on the Malabar coast) 
residing there. The prince referred to would now be called king of 
Travancore, and it is clear from inscriptions in my possession that the 
kingdom of Travancore sometimes included a portion of Tinnevelly. 

The following was inserted as a note in the first edition of this work. 
*' Professor Max MilUer supposed Malabar to be a different language 
from Tamil : nor did he confound it, as would have been natural 
enough, with Malayalam, for he gave a distinct place to each of the 
Dravidian dialects which actually exist, including Malayalam, and 
thereto he added Malabar, on the authority, I presume, of some 
grammar of the last century, in which Tamil was called by that name." 
The above note was written in vain. Dr Hunter, in his '' Comparative 
Dictionary of the non- Aryan Languages of 'India and High Asia," has 
given] his readers a list of words which he designates as Malabar. 
He says, " In two instances separate lists represent either the same 
language or varieties so close as to seem scarcely deserving of separate 
places. The first is the Toduva and Todu, the second, the Malabar. 
But after weighing Mr ^Caldwell's statements in his * Dravidian 
Grammar,' and the considerations which Dr Post kindly urged in 


correspondence, I thought it better to give Malabar a distinct place, 
as the vocabulary which passes under that name was collected at a 
period sufficiently remote to allow of dialectic changes between it and 
the language as now spoken. In this view, it is proper to add. Professor 
Max Miiller coincided." I do not know which was the vocabulary 
referred to, and therefore cannot tell the date of its compilation. Its 
date, however, is of very little consequence, seeing that no dialectic 
changes whatever have taken place in Tamil since the arrival of 
Europeans in India. Every word contained in Dr Hunter's Malabar 
list is modern, colloquial Tamil of the most ordinary type. The alter- 
native words are mostly Sanskrit, from which it may be concluded 
that the compiler of the vocabulary, or the person who made selections 
from it for Dr Hunter, did not take care to confine himself to genuine 
Dra vidian words.* 

Colebrooke, though writing in Notthern India, was aware of the 
identity of Malabar with Tamil. He says (" Essay on the Sanskrit 
and Prdkrit Languages "), " The language of the province is the T^mel, 
to which Europeans have given the name of Malabar." The identity, 
however, of the two languages was known at a much earlier date to 
persons who had the opportunity of acquiring local knowledge. In the 
very first book ever printed in Tamil characters — at Ambalakkddu, on 
the Malabar coast, in 1577 or 9 — the language of the book is styled 
*Malavar or Tamul.' The writer apparently regarded Tamil as the 
more correct word. See " Sounds : Alphabet." 

The Sanskrit name corresponding to Tamil is Dravida, a word which 
denotes both the country inhabited by the people called Dravidas and 
the language spoken by them ; and I have come to the conclusion that 
the words Tamir and Dravida, though they seem to differ a good deal, 
are identical in origin. Supposing them to be one and the same 
word, it will be found much easier to derive Tamir from Dravida 
than Dravida from Tamir. It might naturally seem improbable at 
the outset that a Dravidian people residing in the extreme south should 
call themselves and be called by their neighbours, not by a Dravidian, 

* I notice two errors. One is ^ one^ for 'there,' which I cannot explain. 
It must have crept in from some other list. The other is the word for ' mosquito,' 
which can be made out clearly enough. It is the Tamil word for * moustache.' 
It is not BO surprising after all that Malabar should have acquired a place of its 
own in Indian philology side by side with Tamil, seeing that Malabar and Tamil, 
whatever they mean, are evidently different names. It is more surprising that 
Todu and Toduva should have been honoured with separate lists; seeing that it 
might have been concluded that they were only, like Tulu and Tuluva, different 
modes of writing one and the same name. 


but by a Sanskrit name ; but it is certain that Pandya, the name of 
the southernmost portion of the Dravidians, is Sanskrit, and a similar 
peculiarity meets us with regard to almost all the names of the 
South Indian peoples — Ch61as, Keralas, Andhras, Kalingas, &c. — 
which, so far as is known at present, are Sanskrit, not Dravidian. 
The name Karn^taka alone appears to have a Dravidian origin. If 
the other names were originally Dravidian, as this seems to have been, 
and as it might naturally be supposed they all must have been, their 
original shape and root-meaning have cKsappeared. What adds to 
the difficulty is, that though these words have a place in Sanskrit 
dictionaries and are accepted as Sanskrit by the Dravidian people, 
Sanskrit fails as completely as the Dravidian languages to furnish us 
with a clue to their original meaning. When we have traced them 
back to Sanskrit we are obliged to leave them there. The name 
Andhra appears, as has already been mentioned, in one of the Br^h- 
manas, but, like most of the Vedic proper names, it is incapable of 
explanation. May it not be, indeed, that those proper names belonged 
originally to some old North Indian vernacular — some pree- Aryan, 
though not necessarily non- Aryan — speech, which had disappeared 
before the literary history of Sanskrit commenced. If this were the 
case, it would be in vain to expect the derivation of such words as 
Dravida to be cleared up now. The compound dr is quite un- Dravi- 
dian. It would be tira in Tamil j but even if we suppose some such 
word as Tiravida or Tiramida to have been converted into Dravida by 
the Sanskrit- speaking people, we get no nearer to an explanation of 
the original meaning of the word. 

The oldest form of Dravida^ — or, at least, the form which appears to 
have been most widely in use — appears to have been Dramida; and 
this is the first step towards identifying the two words, Dravida and 
Tamir. Both forms of the word are known in Tamil, but Dramida 
(written Tiramida) is preferred by the classics, and is placed first in 
ancient Tamil vocabularies. In Varaha-mihira's Brihat-samhita, accord- 
ing to Dr Kern, some manuscripts give Dramida, instead of Dravida. 
Through the change of d into I, the Dravidas are called Dramilas in 
Taranatha's Tibetan " History of the Propagation of Buddhism in 
India " (a.d. 1573), and Dr Gundert informs me that this is the form 
in which the word occurs again and again in the'old Malay^lam versions 
of the Puranas. In the P^li of the Mah^wanso the form used is 
Damilo, the derivative of which is D^milo ; and as initial d becomes t 
by rule in Tamil, we now reach the ordinary Tamil mode of writing 
the word, Tamir or Tamil. Each of the changes that have taken 
place is in accordance with a recognised Dravidian law of sound. 


Initial dr is always softened in the Prakrits into d — e.g,, drdha 
becomes doho. In the same manner sr becomes s, an example of 
which we have in the word S'raraana, a Buddhist or Jaina ascetic, 
which in Tamil has become Samana (in Pali, Sammana ; in the Greek 
of Clemens Alexandrinus the plural is 2a^ai/a/o/ and 2e/Ai/o/). The 
change of v into m ot oi m into v, even in Sanskrit itself, is seen in 
such words as dhmdnksha, Sans, a crow, instead of dhvdnksha, and 
especially in the affixes mat and vat, man and van, min and vin. 
Perhaps the most considerable change is from d in Dravida to r in 
Tamir ; but this also is quite in accordance with usage, as will appear 
in the chapter on " Sounds." Compare nddi, Sans, a measure, with the 
Tarn. -Mai. ndri or ndli. A good illustration of this change is furnished 
by the name of one of the nations included under the general name of 
Tamil — viz., that of the Cholas. This name in the Sanskrit of one of 
Anoka's inscriptions is Choda, in ordinary Sanskrit Chola, in Tamil S'6ra, 
in Telugu Ch61a. In Telugu inscriptions it is often Choda as in Asoka's. 
The change of c? to if in the beginning of a word is unavoidable in 
Tamil, but we have a reminiscence perhaps of the original sound in 
the name given to the language by the first Danish missionaries — viz., 
Lingua Damulica. 

In the Indian segment of the very interesting set of Koman maps, 
called, from the name of the discoverer, the Peutinger Tables — (this 
segment at least seems to me anterior to Ptolemy's Geography) — we find 
a considerable portion of the country covered by two names — Andre 
Indi and Damirice. "We can scarcely err in identifying these names with 
the Telugu and Tamil countries — the languages of which were called, 
as we have seen, by Kumarila-bhatta, some centuries later, the lan- 
guages of the Andhras and Dravidas. If so, the earliest appearance of 
the name Tamil in any foreign document, will be found also to be 
most perfectly in accordance with the native Tamil mode of spelling 
the name. Damirice evidently means Damir-ice. Compare the A^iaTCTj 
of Ptolemy and the Aryaka of Var^ha-mihira. In another place in the 
same map a district is called Scytia Dymirice ; and it appears to have 
been this word which, by a mistake of A for A, Ptolemy wrote A\j(Mip!yi7\. 
The D retains its place, however, in the Cosmography of the anonymous 
geographer of Ravenna, who repeatedly mentions Dimirica as one of the 
three divisons of India, and the one farthest to the east. He shows also 
that the Tamil country must have been meant by the name, by mention- 
ing Modura as one of the cities it contained. There can be little doubt 
that the name Tamil may also be identified with the Tchi-mo-lo of 
Hwen Thsang, a word which may also be read Dimala or even Dimara. 

It is remarkable that native Tamil scholars, though generally willing 


enough to trace every word to a Sanskrit origin, have failed to see in 
Tamir — or Tamira, as it is also sometimes written — a tadhhava of 
Dravida or Dramida, and have invented for the name of their language 
(like their neighbours the Telugu people — though perhaps with less 
reason), the meaning of ' sweetness or fragrance ' — a meaning of the 
word Tamir which has nothing to support or commend it, but its 
agreement with the estimate formed by the Tamilians of the euphoni- 
ousness of their native tongue. I accept their estimate of their language 
as in the main correct, but cannot accept their derivation of the word. 
A discussion respecting the origin of the word Tamil would not be 
complete without some reference to the names of the three great sub- 
divisions into which the Tamil people were divided in ancient times — 
Ch^ras, Cholas, and Pandyas. The arrangement of the names is climatic, 
and denotes that the Pandyas were supposed in those times to have the 
pre-eminence — a supposition which appears to be in accordance with 
the facts of the case. 

Pandya. — The Singhalese traditions preserved in the Mah^wamso 
represent Yijaya, the first sovereign of Ceylon, as marrying a daughter 
of the Pandya king, in consequence of which his son was called Pan- 
duvamsadeva. Arjuna also, one of the five Pdndava brothers, is 
related in the Mah^-bh^rata to have married a daughter of the king of 
the Pandyas in the course of his many wanderings. There is no cer- 
tainty in these traditions ; but it is certain that about the time of 
Pliny and the Periplus a portion of the Malabar coast was ruled over 
by the Pandyas, a proof that their power had considerably extended 
itself from its original seats ; and I regard it as nearly certain that the 
Indian king who sent an embassy to Augustus was not Porus, but 
Pandion — i.e., the king of the Pjlndyas, called in Tamil Pandiyan.* 

* The statement generally made by the Greek and Latin historians who refer 
to this embassy is that it was sent by the Indi, without further explanation as to 
who those Indians were. Strabo says the embassy was from king Pandion, " or 
according to others " (whose opinion apparently he did not endorse) "from king 
Porus." One of those " others " was Nicolaus Damascenus, quoted by Strabo 
himself, who says he saw the ambassadors. The name Porus was already well 
known in Europe, through the historians of Alexander's career, and it was 
natural that Greeks should fall into the mistake of supposing every Indian king 
a successor of Porus, whereas the name Pandion was one which up to that time 
had never been heard of in Europe, and therefore was one which could not have 
been invented. This Indian embassy has a place in the Chronicon of Eusebius (320 
A.D.), but neither in the ordinary (defective) Greek text of the Chronicon, nor in 
the Armenian version is the name of the king from whom it proceeded men- 
tioned. The name appears, however, in the Chronographia of George the Syncellus 
(800 A.D.), whose work has been*used to restore or complete the Greek text of the 


If this be admitted, it is an interesting -proof of the advanced social 
position occupied by the Pandyas — (probably in consequence of the 
foreign trade they carried on in connection with their settlements on 
the Malabar coast) — that after the termination of the political relations 
that subsisted between the successors of Alexander and the princes of 
Northern India, the Pandyas were the only Indian princes who per- 
ceived the advantages of an European alliance. 

The Sanskrit Pandya is written in Tamil P^ndiya, but the more 
completely Tamilised form Pandi is still more commonly used all over 
Southern India. I derive Pdndi, not from the Tamil and Malay&lam 
paiidu, ancient, though that is a very tempting derivation, but — as 
native scholars always derive the word — from the Sanskrit P^ndu, the 
name of the father of the Pandava brothers. This very form Pandya, 
in the sense of a descendant of P^ndu, is mentioned, as I am informed 
by Professor Max Mtiller, by Katy^yana, the immediate successor of 
P^nini. The second and most celebrated capital of the Pandyas — (the 
first was Kolkei on the Tamraparni) — was Madurei, in English Ma- 
dura, which is the Tamil mode of writing Mathura (the Muttra of our 
maps, and the Ms^o^a of the Greeks) the name of the city which 
remained in the possession of the P4ndavas at the conclusion of the 
great war. The Madura of the Pandyas is appropriately called in the 
Harivamsa, 'the Southern Mathura.' There is another (Matura) in 
Ceylon, and a fourth (Madlira) in the Eastern Archipelago.. The 
Singhalese annalists in the Mah^wanso call the king of the Pandyas 
sometimes P^ndyava, sometimes P^ndu j and this shows that there 
cannot be any doubt of the connection of the name of the PS,ndyas 
with that of the heroes of the great war, though the origin and nature 
of that connection cannot now be ascertained. Pandya must at first 
have been the name of the ruling family only. Its extension to the 
people followed the course which dynastic names have often taken in 
other parts of the world. Megasthenes speaks of a country in India 
which was called Uocvdalr/, after the name of the only daughter of the 
Indian Hercules — that is, of Krishna. I have -no doubt that the 
country referred to was that of the Pandyas. A writer who had heard of 
the Andarse and Calingae could not but have heard of the Pandyas also. 
He partly, it is true, misapprehended the legends related to him ; but 
he was right in deriving the name of the Pandya country from the name 
of its rulers, and in connecting their name — in some fashion, however 
erroneously— with mythological heroes and heroines. The myth really 

Chronicon, and who says, under the head of the 185th Olympiad, " Pandion, king 
of the Indians, sends an embassy to Augustus, requesting to become his friend 
and ally." 


current at that time — if we may suppose the substance of the Mah^- 
bh^rata in its present shape then in existence — was that Arjuna, one 
of the P^ndava brothers and Krishna's chief friend, had in the course 
of his wanderings in the south married a daughter of the king of the 
P^ndyas. Everything related by Megasthenes respecting this country, 
especially the statement that it was there that pearls were procured, 
serves to identify it with the Pdndya country. Pliny, apparently 
following another passage of Megasthenes, enumerates amongst the 
Indian nations a nation called Pandas. It is not clear where he sup- 
posed their country was situated, but we cannot doubt that the 
Pandyas of Madura, wherever he thought they were located, were the 
people referred to. His statement that the Pandse alone amongst 
Indian nations were ruled by women, though not correct (so far as is 
now known), if supposed to relate to the Pandyas of Madura, may be 
regarded as sufficiently applicable to the peculiar social usages of the 
Malabar coast, where almost every inheritance still runs in the female 
line, and where, in Pliny's own times at least, if not also in those of 
Megasthenes, the Pandyas of Madura had colonies. Pliny expressly 
mentions that a portion of the western coast was then under the rule 
of king Pandion, " far away from his mediterranean emporium of 
Modura ; " yet he remarks also that this name, with others in the same 
neighbourhood, was new to him. He evidently had no idea that the 
subjects of king Pandion were identical with the Pandse he himself 
had already referred to. 

Chola, the name of the Tamil people placed second in the list, is a 
word of unknown origin. It appears as Choda in one of Asoka's inscrip- 
tions, and also in the Telugu inscriptions of the Ch^lukya dynasty. In 
modern Telugu this word appears as Chola, in Tamil as Ch6ra or Sora. 
We have here doubtless the 2woa/, &c., of Ptolemy. It is difficult to 
identify the country called Choliya by Hwen Thsang with the country 
inhabited by the Ch61as, but it seems probable that the names are 
identical ; and we know that the Northern Circars were ruled by an 
offshoot of the Cholas in the eleventh century. The original seat of 
the Cholas seems to have been the extensive, fertile valley of the 
Kaveri, including the Tanjore and Trichinopoly districts ; but subse- 
quently they ruled over the whole of the Tamil country north of the 
Kaveri. Their capital city in the earliest period was Uvieyilr (literally 
the * city of habitation '), called also Kori, which appears to have been 
nearly identical with the modern Trichinopoly (Tirisirdppalli). In the 
eleventh century the Cholas reached the zenith of their power, and 
ruled — as is ascertained by inscriptions— over the whole Tamil country, 



including not only the country north of the Kaveri, but also the country 
of the Pandyas, South Travancore, the northern districts in Ceylon, 
and a portiop of the Telugu country. 

ChIira, the name of the third Tamilian people, is a word which pre- 
sents itself to us in many shapes, as will be seen when we proceed to 
consider the Malayalam language. The language of the Cholas never 
differed from that of the Pandyas ; and originally the language of the 
Ch^ras also differed but little from that of the other two portions of 
the Tamil people, as appears frqm the Syrian and Jewish inscriptions 
of the eighth century. By whatever local or dynastic names they may 
have called themselves, they all — whether Cheras, Ch61as, or Pandyas — 
continued to be called Dravidas, and the language they spoke in 
common was everywhere called by the one name of Dravida or Tamil. 

This idea of the original identity of the Cheras, or people of Kerala, 
with the Cholas and Pandyas, is quite in accordance with native tradi- 
tions. According to Tamil tradition, Cheran, Choran, and Fdndiyan 
were three royal brothers, who at first lived and ruled in common at 
Kolkei, on the Tamraparni, a river in Tinnevelly renowned in ancient 
song, on the banks of which the earliest civilisation in Southern India 
appears to have been built up. Eventually a separation took place : 
Pandiyan remained at home ; Cheran and Choran went forth to seek 
their fortunes, and founded kingdoms of their own to the north and 
west. We have a similar representation, perhaps merely an echo of 
the Tamil tradition, in the Hari-vamsa and several Puranas (see Muir's 
" Sanskrit Texts," vols. i. and ii.), in which Pandya, Kerala, Kola, 
and Chola are represented as the four sons of Akrida, or of Dushyanta, 
the adopted son of Turvasu, a prince of the lunar line of the Kshat- 
riyas. Who the Kolas of this list were is not clear. The term is sup- 
posed by some to have been intended to denote the Canarese people, 
Karn^ta being given in this connection instead of Kola by several 
Puranas. The Canarese people, however, are never called Kolas either 
by themselves or by their Dravidian neighbours ; and it seems most 
probable that the Kols or Kolarians were referred to, perhaps under the 
impression (if so, an erroneous one, except in so far as the Oraons 
and Meiers are concerned) that they also were Dravidians. 

The Tamil language is called Aravam by the Mussulmans of the 
Dekhan, the Telugus, and the Canarese. What is the derivation of 
this term Aravam 1 Its origin appears to me very uncertain. Dr 
Gundert suggested that as Tamil literature excelled other literatures in 
ethics, it might have been perhaps from this circumstance that Tamilians 


were called Aravas. Aravas on this supposition would signify moralists, 
for aram in Tamil means virtue ; it might mean perhaps even Buddhists, 
for Aravan, Tam. ' the virtuous one,' is a name of Buddha. It would 
not be a valid objection to this derivation that the r of the Telugu and 
Canarese word Aravam is the ordinary liquid or semi- vowel, whilst the 
r of the Tamil aram is the hard rough r, for the hard r of Tamil gene- 
rally changes into r in Telugu and Canarese; and this very word 
avam, Tam. virtue, is aravu in. Canarese. Another theory derives the 
term from arivu, the Tamil word for knowledge, the Tamil people 
being supposed to be distinguished amongst the people of the south for 
their intelligence. Another derivation is from Aruvd, the name of an 
unknown district somewhere in the Tamil country, which was reckoned 
one of the twelve districts in which, according to the Tamil gram- 
marians, bad Tamil was spoken. A formidable, if not a fatal, objec- 
tion to these derivations is, that they have all a Tamil origin, w^hereas 
Aravam is absolutely unknown in Tamil itself as a name either of 
the people or of their language. It is by the Telugus, Canarese, and 
Dekhanis that the name is used, and its derivation must, therefore, be 
sought out of the Tamil country. The opinion of the best Telugu 
pandits I have consulted is that Arava is a Sanskrit, not a Dravi- 
dian, word. It is to be divided as a-rava, destitute of sound ; and 
this name has been given, they suppose, to Tamil by the northern 
neighbours of the Tamilians on account of its being destitute of 
aspirates. Being the only language in India totally without aspirates, 
it was despised by outsiders for what was regarded as a defect, and 
was called in consequence Arava, which may be rendered ^ unsonorous.' 
It was not likely, if this were the origin of the word, that the Tamil 
people would apply it to their own tongue. Aravam-u having come 
to be used in Telugu as the name of the language, the Telugu people 
went in time a step farther, and called the people who spoke the lan- 
guage Arava-lu, Aravas. The Telugu word Aravam-u^ ' the Tamil 
language,' is not to be confounded with the Tamil word aravam, sound. 
It is a curious circumstance that the latter word means sound, whilst 
the former means being without sound. The initial a of the Tamil 
word is not, as it might readily be supposed to be, the Sanskrit a pri- 
vative, but is one of the devices employed in Tamil to render it possible 
for Tamil organs to pronounce an initial r. (Comp. arasan, king, 
from Sanskrit rdjd.) It may also be noticed that whilst the Sanskrit 
word rava means a loud sound, a noise, the Tamil form of the same 
word, aravam, means a very slight noise. 

Mr Narasimmiengar, of^the Mysore Commission, was so kind as to 
consult for me the best native Canarese scholars as to what they ct n- 


Bidered the origin of the term Aravam. They rejected the theory of 
the Telugu pandits, according to which it was derived from the Sans- 
krit a-rava, and stated that they considered it derived from the Cana- 
rese word ardvu, 'half,' or ' deficient' (Can. root are, Tel. ara), a term 
by which they supposed the Tamil language had been designated by 
their forefathers, on account of what appeared to them its deficiencies. 
I am sorry to say the discussion of this point does not appear to me as. 
yet to have produced any very satisfactory result. It is noteworthy, 
perhaps, that the people who are represented by Ptolemy as occupying, 
according to Colonel Yule, the portion of the Coromandel coast near 
Nellore, are called by him the Arvarni. 

Whence has arisen the name Tigalar or Tigular, ordinarily applied 
to the Tamilians by the Canarese ? The Canarese, like the Telugus, 
call the Tamil people Aravas and Dravidas, but the name Tigalar is 
given to the Tamilians by the Canarese alone. Mr Kittel informs me 
that in the oldest Canarese MSS. in which he has found this word it 
is written Tigular, and that he has little doubt its original form was 
Tigurar. This word appears at present in Canarese in the form of 
tegala, and means blame, abuse. As applied to the Tamilians it would 
mean the opprobrious people, which it is difficult to suppose would 
ever become current as the denomination of an entire race. No words 
resembling this have the meaning of blame or abuse in Tamil or Malay- 
alam. In both languages tigar means splendour ; tegil, tegal, fulness. 
These meanings would doubtless be too complimentary for a name 
given to any people by foreigners, and yet the meaning deducible from 
the Canarese itself seems too uncivil. The Canarese pandits, consulted 
by Mr Narasimmiengar, derived the name from tigadu or tigaru, and 
explained it as meaning rude. This explanation accords substantially 
with Mr Kittel's. Mr Narasimmiengar adds, " The word Tigalaru has 
almost ceased to be one of reproach, and there are large communities, 
some of them Br^hmans, called by this name." 

II. M^LAYALAM. — This language claims to be placed next to Tamil in 
the list of Dravidian tongues, on account of the peculiarly close relation- 
ship to Ta'mil in which it stands. Malayg^lam is spoken along the Malabar 
coast, on the western side of the Ghauts, or Malaya range of mountains, 
from the vicinity of Chandragiri, near Mangalore, where it supersedes Ca- 
narese and Tulu, to Trivandrum (Tiruvanantapuram), where it begins to 
be superseded by Tamil. The people by whom this language is spoken in 
the native states of Travancore (Tiruvidankodu or Tiravankodu) and 
Cochin (Kochchi), and in the British Indian districts of Malabar and 
Canara, may be estimated at 3,750,000. All along the Malabar coast 


Tamil intertwines itself with Malayalam. Though that coast was for 
many ages more frequented by foreigners than any other part of India ; 
though Phoenicians, Greeks, Jews, iSyrian or Persian Christians, and 
Arabs, traded in succession to the various ports along the coast ; and 
though permanent settlements were formed by the last three classes ; 
yet the MalayMam people continue to be of all Dravidians the most 
exclusive and superstitious, and shrink most sensitively from contact 
with foreigners. Hence the lines and centres of communication have 
been occupied, and a considerable portion of the commerce and public 
business of the Malabar States has been monopolised, especially in 
Travancore, by the less scrupulous and more adroit Tamilians. 

Malai/dlam 'is also called Malai/drma, another form of which is 
Malaydyma; but both words are substantially the same. The first 
part of each word is not the Sanskrit Malaya, 'a range of mountains' 
(probably identical with the Western and Southern Ghauts), but the 
Dravidian mala, 'a mountain,' from which doubtless the Sanskrit 
malaya itself was derived. The second part of the word, dlam or. 
drma, is an abstract neuter noun, between mala and which y is inserted 
by rule to prevent hiatus, dlam is plainly a verbal derivative from 
the root dl, * to possess,' ' to use,' ' to rule ' (not to be confounded with 
dram, 'depth,' from the root dr, *to be deep'). It bears the same 
relation to drma, originally dlma (Tam. dnmei, euphonised from dlmei), 
that tanam (Mal.-Tam. ' quality ') does to tanma, Mai. (Tam. tanmei) ; 
that is, it is more commonly used, but is reckoned less elegant, drma 
is softened from dlma, as in Tam. velldlan, a cultivator, is sometimes 
softened into velldran. More frequently r changes to I, but the change 
of I to r is also known. This r is further softened in Malayalam to 
y, in consequence of which Malaydrma becomes Malaydyma. In 
colloquial Tamil this softening process is sometimes carried so far that 
the I disappears altogether and leaves no trace behind. Thus, velldn- 
mei, Tam. cultivation, becomes in MalayMam velldyma, but in collo- 
quial Tamil velldmei; nattdnmei, Tam. the headship of a village, 
from nddu and dnmei, becomes in Malayalam ndttdyma, but- in collo- 
quial Tamil ndttdmei. ndttdnma is also found in Malayalam ; and 
this supplies us with a clear proof of the descent of dyma, through 
dnma, from dlma. Perhaps the best rendering of the term Malayalam 
or Malay arma is the ' mountain region.' If we had a word in ^^Inglish 
for a mountain district ending in * ship ' like ' township,' it would 
come still nearer. When used as an abstract term in compounds 
anmei means use or possession — e.g., villdnmei, the use of the bow, 
from vil, bow. The appel^tive noun connected with this word dnmei 
is dlan or dli, each of which forms is in ordinary use both in Tamil 


and Malay 41am — e.g.^ villdlan = villdli, Tam.-Mal. a bowman. The 
appellative noun corresponding to Malaydlam or Malaydrma is Ma- 
lay dli, a man of Malayalam,.a mountaineer. 

The Malayalam language is not distinguished from Tamil by San- 
skrit writers, the term Dravida, as used by them, including both 
tongues ; but the Malayalam country has a name of its own in Sanskrit, 
with special names for the various districts included in it, from Gokar- 
nam to Cape Comorin. The general name of this entire region in Sanskrit 
is Kerala, a term which appears in the Kapur Di Giri version of Asoka's 
edict, in the third century B.C., in which the king of this country is 
called Keralamfjutra. Keralam is found in all the Dravidian dialects 
in one shape or another. In Tamil, through the softening of h into s, 
c, or ch, this word sometimes becomes Seralam, more commonly still 
Seram. Where the initial h is retained unchanged, it is followed by 
the Dravidian I — e.g., Keralam — and this is the case also in Telugu 
and Canarese. In Malayalam we find Keralam, Cheralam, and Cheram, 
•as in Tamil, and also Keram. A man of Keralam is called sometimes 
Kelan or Kelu, and though this is evidently a contraction of Keralan, 
it must be one of great antiquity, for we find it in Pliny's name of the 
king of the country, Celobotras, a form of the word which is thus seen 
to be as accurate as Ptolemy's KyioojSodoog. 

The Kerala of the ancients seems to have divided itself into two 
portions, one of which, the district lying along the sea coast, has always 
retained the Sanskritic name of Kerala, whilst it also called itself by 
the Tamil name of Chera ; the other, an inland district, including Coim- 
batore, Salem, and a portion of Mysore, seems to have dropped the name 
of Kerala altogether, and called itself exclusively either Chera or Kongu. 
It is to the latter district that the papers of Professor Dowson and Dr 
Eggeling on the Chera dynasty refer. Though, however, the districts 
and dynasties differed, I have no doubt that the 7iames Kerala and Chera 
were originally one and the same, and it is certain that they are always 
regarded as synonymous in native Tamil and Malayalam lists of syno- 
nyms. In the various lists of the boundaries of Chera given by 
Tamil writers, the Malabar coast from Calicut southward — that is, the 
whole of southern Kerala — is invariably included. Probably Kera 
was the earliest form of the word, Kerala a Sanskritic derivative. 
The word Kongu, one. of the names of the Chera country, means, like 
Kudagu (Coorg), crooked, curved, and is evidently a name derived 
from the configuration of the country. The meaning of Keram is not 
so certain. One meaning of this word in Malayalam is ' a cocoa-nut 
palm.' This would furnish us with a very natural origin for the name 
of the country*; but unfortunately it seems to be only a secondary 


meaning, the name of the country itself being probably the origin of 
this name of its most characteristic tree. No word allied to Malay- 
^lam, the native name of the language and the name most commonly 
used now for the country, seems to bave been known to the earlier 
Greeks. A portion of the name appears for the first time in the 
"Christian Topography" of Cosmas Indicopleustes, about 545 A.D., 
who, writing especially about Ceylon, mentions amongst the adjacent 
countries, " MaXi, whence the pepper comes." This form of the word 
is evidently identical with the Tamil malei, a hill, the hill country, a 
word which would be in common use then, as now, amongst the Tamil 
settlers in Ceylon. The distinctively Malayalam form of the same 
word is mala. 

Malayalam being, as I conceive, a very ancient offshoot of Tamil, 
differing from it chiefly at present by its disuse of the personal termi- 
nations of the verbs and the larger amount of Sanskrit derivatives it 
has availed itself of, it might perhaps be regarded rather as a dialect of 
Tamil, than as a distinct member of the Dravidian family. Though 
its separation from Tamil must have taken place at a very early 
period, yet it seems to have participated, as time went on, in the pro- 
gressive cultivation and refinement of Tamil,— possibly through the 
political influence the Tamilians acquired on the western coast in early 
times, an illustration of which we have seen in the fact that the author 
of the " Periplus " represents Nelkynda, one of the most important 
emporia on the western coast, as belonging to the Pandya king of 
Madura, the principal potentate in the Tamil country. The oldest 
Malayalam poetry, as I learn from Dr Gundert, imitated Tamil rather 
than Sanskrit. It eschewed all letters not included in the thirty-two 
adopted by Tamil, and the character employed was a character often 
used in inscriptions in the Tamil country, particularly in the south, 
and differing very widely from the MalayMam character now in use. 
The " Rama Charita," probably the oldest poem in the language, 
though not, after all, of any very great antiquity, was composed before 
the introduction of the Sanskrit alphabet, and exhibits substantially 
the same phase of the language as the Jewish and Syrian S'asanas. 
Bearing this in mind, it is remarkable that the Brahmanisation of the 
language and literature should now have become so complete. This 
process appears to have been carried on systematically only during the 
last two or three centuries, yet one of the most marked characteristics 
of the Malayalam language, as we now find it, is the quantity of Sans- 
krit it contains. The proportion of Sanskrit words adopted by the 
Dravidian languages is least in Tamil, greatest in Malayalam ; and the 
modern Malayalam character seems to have been derived in the main 


from the Grantha, the character in which Sanskrit is written in the 
Tamil country. In consequence of these things, the difference between 
Malayalam and Tamil, though originally slight, has progressively 
increased, so that the claim of Malayalam, as it now stands, to be con- 
sidered, not as a mere dialect of Tamil, but as a sister language, cannot 
be called in question. Originally, it is true, I consider it to have been 
not a sister of Tamil, but a daughter. It may best be described as a 
much-altered offshoot. 

The descent of MalayMam from Tamil may be illustrated by the 
word it uses to denote east. This is Hralcku, meaning beneath, 
downwards, a word which corresponds to that which is used to denote 
west, viz., melku, above, upwards ; both of which words necessarily 
originated, not in the western coast, but in the Tamil country, or the 
country on the eastern side of the Ghauts, where a lofty range of moun- 
tains rises everywhere to the westward, and where, consequently, to go 
westward is to go upwards, whilst to the eastward the country slopes 
downwards to the sea. The configuration of the Malayalam country, 
as of the whole of the western coast, is directly the reverse of this, the 
mountain range being to the eastward, and the sea to the westward. 
Notwithstanding this, the Malayalam word for east is identical with 
the Tamil word ! To what can this coincidence point but the original 
identity of Malayalam with Tamil % The people by whom Malayalam 
is spoken must originally have been a colony of Tamilians. They 
must have entered the Malayalam country by the Paulghaut or Coim- 
batore gap, and from thence spread themselves along the coast, north- 
ward to the Chandragiri river, southward to the ISTeyyaru river near 
Trivandrum, at each of which points their further progress seems to 
have been stopped by settlements of colonists of a kindred race, who 
had already reached the western coast by different routes. Dr Gundert 
(Introduction to "Malayalam Dictionary"), whilst admitting Tamil 
and Malayalam to be very nearly related, appears to be unwilling to 
consider Malayalam as an offshoot of Tamil. He argues (in a private 
communication) that the words used in MalayMam for east and west 
cannot safely be regarded as proving the immigration of the MalayMam 
people from the east, and that if the analogous progress of the Aryans 
to the south be considered, it will appear probable that the Dravidians, 
like the Aryans, formed settlements on the western coast first, and 
afterwards made their acquaintance with the eastern. It is true, as he 
observes, th?it jmdinndru, ^ro'^exly padmndyivu, meaning the setting sun, 
is more commonly used in Malayalam for west than melku, but padunn- 
dyitu is also a Tamil word, and Dr Gundert admits that both melhu 
and hrakhu must have originated in the Tamil country. The argument 


from tlie analogy of the Aryan immigration appears to prove too much. 
It would require us to regard the whole Tamil people as immigrants 
from the western coast, and the Tamil language as an offshoot from 
Malayalam, the geographical and philological difficulties in the way of 
both which suppositions appear to me to be insuperable. 

Origin of the terms ^ CoromandeV and ^Malabar.'' — Before passing 
on to the rest of the Dravidian languages, it may be desirable to inquire 
into the origin of the names * Coromandel/ coast and * Malabar ' coast, 
by which the eastern and western coasts of the southern portion of the 
Indian peninsula, in which the Tamil and MalayMam languages are 
spoken, are usually designated. 

1. Coromandel.. — The best derivation of Coromandel is from the 
Tamil Choramandalam, the Chola country, from Chdra, the Tamil 
form of the name which is best known in its Sanskrit form of Chola, 
and mandalam (a Sanskrit tadhhava), * a district of country.' Undoubt- 
edly Fra Paulino k St Bartolomseo was wrong in supposing Ch61a- 
mandalani to have meant ' the millet country.' The ffrst word, Ch6ram 
though often pronounced like Cholam ('maize,' not * millet'), is always 
written in Tamil Choram, and the compound Ch6ra-mandalam, * the 
country of the Choras, like Pandya-mandalam, ' the country of the 
P^ndyas,' has been in common use for ages. The first Portuguese, as 
I learn from Dr Gundert, always called by the name of Choramandala 
the fifth province of the E^yar's empire (the empire of the so-called 
K^yulu or Telugu kings of Vijayanagara), which they represented as 
extending from the frontiers of Quilon (that is, from near Cape Como- 
rin) to Orisaa. The Portuguese evidently adopted this name as the 
equivalent of Ma'bar, the name by which the greater part of the Coro- 
mandel coast had up to that time been generally called by the Muham- 
medans and those Europeans who derived their information from 
them. (See Ibn Batuta and Marco Polo.) This name Ma'bar, literally 
a ford or passage, was used originally to denote the coast of Madura, 
from which there was an easy passage by Rama's bridge to Ceylon. 
The application of the name was then indefinitely extended north- 
wards. The change from Choramandala to Coromandel is one which 
would easily be made. The middle point appears to be Choromandel, 
the mode in which the name was written by the early Dutch. 

In the first edition of this work, whilst assigning this origin to the term 
Coromandel coast, I suggested also that it was difficult to see how the first 
mariners could have become acquainted with this somewhat high-flown 
classical word. It seemed to me desirable, therefore, to seek for some 
more trite and easy derivation of the word Coromandel — some deriva- 
tive that would suit the circumstances of mariners and factors ; and 


this, I said, I think we find in Karu-manal (literally, black sand), the 
name of a small village on the eastern coast, near Pulicat (the first settle- 
ment of the Dutch), which is invariably pronounced and written Coro- 
mandel by the Europeans who are resident in Madras, some of whom 
annually take refuge in Karumanal or Coromandel during the hot land 
winds. Coromandel is often the first point which is sighted by ships 
from Europe bound to Madras ; and the objects on which my own eyes 
first rested on approaching the coast, in January 1838, were the cocoa- 
nut trees of Coromandel and the distant Nagari hills. I fear, however, 
this easy derivation must be given up, and the more ancient one, which 
carries us back to the first arrival of the Portuguese in India, retained. 
I learn also from Mr C. P. Brown, that in a map .of the Jaghire of 
Madras in " Kitchin's Atlas" (about 1790), the name of the village in 
question is written, not Coromandel, but Karri mannel, so that the 
application of the name Coromandel to this village by the English must 
be of recent date. One of the names given to the eastern coast in 
Telugu is Kharamandalam, from khara, Sans, hot ; but this name has 
never been used so widely along the coast as to render it likely that 
it was the origin of the name Coromandel. Besides, this name was 
never used, as Ch6ramandalam was, as a political designation. 

I am indebted to Colonel Yule, the learned editor of Marco Polo, for 
additional information regarding the use of the term Coromandel by the 
early Portuguese. He says — " It certainly was a name in use when the 
Portuguese arrived in India. This appears from its use in the short narra- 
tive of Hieronimo de Sto Stefano, dated in 1499, which is published at the 
end of Major's 'India' in the fifteenth century. After mentioning Ceylon 
he says, ' departing thence after twelve days we reached another place 
called Coromandel.' The city of Choromandel appears in ' Vaithema's 
Travels' (published in 1510) ; and in Barbosa, the most complete of 
the early Portuguese accounts, we have the country of Charamandel 
(in the Portuguese editiqn), Coromandel (in Bamusio's Italian), Chol- 
mendel and Cholmender in a Spanish MS. translated by Lord Stanley 
of Alderley in the Hakluyt series. I believe both Spanish and Portu- 
guese pronounce the ch as we do, so I should think it probable that 
the Italian Co was written ^o. This Cholmendel is remarkable, as 
the MS. is supposed to date about 1510, too early for theories about 
Chola-mandala. I had given up the hope of finding proof of the use 
of this name by the Muhammedans, but on turning to Eowlandson's 
translation of the * Tohfat al Maj^hidin, or History of the Muham- 
medana in Malabar,' I have found (p. 153) that the Franks had built 
fortresses *at Mielapoor and Nagapatam, and other seaports of Sol- 
mondul,' and the name occurs again in the next page." Colonel Yule, 


in mentioning this in the Bombay Antiquary iov August 1874, adds — 
" The occurrence of this name in this form and in a Muhammedan 
writer upsets a variety of theories as to the origin of the name." 

The Coromandel coast is evidently the Ila^a>Ja 'S.ojdojtuv (or 2wf/- 
yuiv) of Ptolemy, and also the district ri^g idiug Xsyov/J^hrig Ua^aXiag 
Tuoiyyuv (or ^usr/yoov), in which the mouth of the Xa/3?igo;, the 
Kiv^ri, was situated. These seem remarkable anticipations of the 
name by which the coast was known in later times. 

2. Malabar. — The origin of the name Malabar has hitherto been 
enveloped in greater obscurity than that of the corresponding name 
Coromandel. The first part of the name (Mala) is evidently the 
Malay Mam word for mountain, as in the name Malay ^lam itself, and 
we can scarcely err in concluding it to have been a perpetuation of the 
Male of the later Greeks. I learn from Colonel Yule that in the 
relations of the Arabian navigators the name Malg held its place, 
nearly as Cosmos has it, without any such suffix as bdr, down to the 
eleventh or twelfth century. In 851 a.d. it occurs, he says, as Malai 
or Kulam-Malai, in 1150 as Malt and also Maliah. It is interesting 
to find the name of Quilon (Kulam, properly Kollam) as early as 851 
associated with the name of the coast, in the compound term Kulam- 
Malai ; but Colonel Yule has found Quilon mentioned by name prior 
even to 660,* which tends to show, as he observes, that the Quilon 
era (the first year of which corresponds to a.d. 824-5) did not in reality 
take its origin, as has been supposed, from the foundation of the city. 

The first appearance of the affix bdr is in 1150, and from the time of 
its appearance, the word to which it is affixed — the first part of the com- 
pound — is frequently found to change. Colonel Yule gives the follow- 
ing Arabian forms, — Malibar, Manibar, Mulib^r, Muniblr, M^ib^r ; and 
the following as the forms used by early European travellers, &c. — 
Minibar, Milibar, Melibar (Marco Polo), Minubar, Melibaria. From 
the time of the arrival of the Portuguese in India it seems always to 
have been called Malabar, as by ourselves, and in this form of the 
word Mala, mountain, is correctly given. It has been more difficult 
to ascertain the origin and meaning of the affix bdr. Lassen explained 
it as identical with the Sanskrit vdra, in the sense of ' a region ; ' 
Malaya-vara = Malabar = the region of Malaya, the Western Ghauts. 

* A letter in Assemani's Bibliotheca, from the Patriarch Jesajabus (died a.d. 
660) to Simon, Metropolitan of Persia, blames his neglect of duty, saying that in 
consequence, not only is India, "which extends from the coast of the kingdom 
of Persia to Colon, a distance 9i 1200 parasangs, deprived of a regular ministry, 
but Persia itself is lying in darkness." — Colonel Yule. 


The difficulty in the way of accepting this is that Malaya-vara is a 
factitious word, not really found in Sanskrit, and never actually used 
by the people of the Malabar coast. The same difficulty stands in the 
way of Malarvaram, Tam.-Mal. the foot of the mountains, and Malap- 
p^du, the mountain district. These derivations might be regarded at 
first sight as admissible ; but they are Indian vernacular words, and if 
the name Malabar had been derived from them, we should expect 
to find them in use in India itself, whereas there is no trace of either 
of them having ever actually been used by any Indian people. 

Dr Gundert suggested to me the possibility of the derivation of 
bdr from the Arabic harr, continent, as he considered it probable 
that the name of Malabar had first been brought into use by the 
Arabian navigators. Colonel Yule arrived independently at a simi- 
lar conclusion. He preferred, however, the Persian bdr to the Arabic 
harr, and has given illustrations of the use of this Persian affix by 
the Arabs which appear to me to carry conviction. • He says (in 
one of the private communications with which he has favoured me), 
" This affix bdr seems to have been much used by navigators. We 
have Zanzi-Mr (the country of the blacks), Kala-b^r (see the " Arabic 
Relations," by Reinaud, I., 17, where it is explained that " the word bdr 
signifies either a coast or a kingdom ") ; and even according to John- 
son's " Persian Arabic Dictionary," Hindti-bar. Burton says (Joiirnal 
of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. xxix. p. 30) that at Zanzibar, 
in distinguishing the mainland from the island, they call the former 
Barr-el-Moli, or * continent.' And in a note he adds, '' The word 
Moli, commonly used in the corrupt Arabic of Zanzibar, will vainly be 
sought in the dictionaries. Query, if this word Moli for continent 
may not have shaped some of the forms of the name of Malabar that 
we have above. I suppose bdr itself is rather Persian than Arabic, 
and may be radically the same affix that we have in so many Indian 
names of countries, Marwar, Raj war, &c." This Persian derivation 
seems to me so satisfactory that it may safely be accepted. bdr, 
country, may have been added to Male to distinguish the mainland 
from the adjacent islands, the Maldives and the Laccadives. The 
'M.dXdives may have been the dives or islands of MalS, whilst Mala6(2r 
was the continent or mainland of Male. Colonel Yule informs me 
that Pyrard de la Val and Moresby agree in calling the principal 
island Male ; the first vowel of this name may be either long or short. 
In Singhalese the islands are called the ifaMives, but in Tamil they 
are called Ji^Mives ; and this Tamil mdl differs considerably from 
Mala, the name of the Malabar coast, whilst it agrees perfectly with 
the name given to the islands by Ibn Batuta, who calls them Dhibat- 


al-mali41, from the name of the ' atoll ' where the sultan of the islands 
lived — viz., Al-mahM. Mahfil is always corrupted into mdl in Tamil. 
The Persian hdr, one of the meanings of which is ' a country/ is 
regarded by Vuller (" Lexicon Pers.-Lat.") as identical in origin 
with the Sanskrit vdra, a noun of multitude. It does not follow, 
however, that it is identical with the affix vdr which we find in so 
many Indian names of countries, as Marwar, Dharw^r, Kattyw^r, &c. 
The apparent resemblance between this wdr and the Persian hdr and 
especially the Sanskrit vdr a disappears on investigation. This wdr is 
written vdd ; and Dr Trurapp assures me that its lineal descent from 
the Sanskrit vdta (vdta, vdd, vdr) is capable of proof, vdfa, Sans, 
means not only ' an enclosure,' but also ' a district ' — e.g., Frdchya- 
vd(a, the eastern district. Dr Eggeling informs me that he has found 
Dharwar written Dhara-varsha in an inscription of the seventh cen- 
tury. According to Dr Trumpp, however, the wdr of the modern 
Dharwar must have had a different origin, as varsha becomes in the 
Prakrit, not vdr, but varisd or varakhi. 

III. Telugu. — In respect of antiquity of culture and glossarial 
copiousness, Telugu is generally considered as ranking next to Tamil in 
the list of Dravidian idioms, whilst in point of euphonic sweetness it 
justly claims to occupy the first place. This language was sometimes 
called by the Europeans of the last generation the ' Gentoo,' from the 
Portuguese word for heathens or * gentiles,' a term which was used at 
first to denote all Hindus or ' natives,' but which came in time to 
mean the Telugus alone. The use of the term Gentoo for Telugu, like 
that of Malabar for Tamil, has now nearly disappeared. Telugu is 
spoken all along the eastern coast of the Peninsula, from the neigh- 
bourhood of Pulicat, where it supersedes Tamil, to Chicacole, where 
it begins to yield to the Oriya, and inland it prevails as far as 
the eastern boundary of the Maratha country and Mysore, including 
within its range the ' Ceded districts ' and Karnul, a considerable part 
of the territories of the Nizam, or the Hyderabad country, and a por- 
tion of the Nagpur country and Gondvana. The district thus des- 
cribed was called Telingana by the Muhammedans. The Telugu 
people, though not at present the most enterprising or migratory, are 
undoubtedly the most numerous branch of the Dravidian race. In- 
cluding the Nayudus (Tam. N^akkas = Sans. Nayakas), Keddis,- and 
other Teluga tribes settled in the Tamil country, who are chiefly the 
descendants of those soldiers of fortune by whom the Pandya and 
Chola kingdoms were sub'\^rted, and who number not much less than 
a million of souls ; and including also the Telugu settlers in Mysore, 


and the indigenous Telugu inhabitants of the native states, the people 
who speak the Telugu language may be estimated as amounting to at 
least fifteen million and a half. The chief, if not the only, element 
of doubt in this calculation relates to the proportion of Telugu speak- 
ing people in the Nizam's territory. 

Though the Telugu people cannot at present be described as the 
most migratory portion of the Dravidians, there was a time, when 
they appear to have exhibited this quality more conspicuously than 
any other branch of the race. * Most of the Klings, or Hindis, found 
in the eastern archipelago in our times, are, it is true, Tamilians; 
but the Tamilians, in trading and forming settlements in the East, 
have entered on a field formerly occupied by the Telugus, and not 
only so, but have actually inherited the name by which their Telugu 
predecessors were known. ' Kling ' stood for ' Kalinga,' and Kalinga 
meant the seaboard of the Telugu country. The Hindus, who in the 
early centuries of the Christian era formed settlements, built temples, 
and exercised dominion in Sumatra and Java, appear to have been 
Telugus, not Tamilians ; and whilst the Tamil country was overrun by 
the Telugus in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, no correspond- 
ing settlement of Tamilians in the Telugu country to any considerable 
extent seems to have followed the establishment in that country (or at 
least in the portion of it specially called Kalinga) of a dynasty of 
Chola kings in the eleventh or twelfth centuries. 

Telugu is called Andhra by Sanskrit writers — that is, the language 
of the Andhras, one of the two nations into which the Telugu people 
seems from the earliest times to have been divided. The other nation 
was the Kalingas. The Andhras seem to have been better known than 
the Kalingas to the early Aryans. They are mentioned as early as in the 
" Aitareya Br^hmana of the Eig-veda," though represented therein as 
an uncivilised race ; and in Puranic times a dynasty of Andhra kings 
is represented to have reigned in Northern India. The Andarse are 
represented by Pliny (after Megasthenes) as a powerful people, and the 
Andre Indi have a place in the '' Peutinger Tables" (north of the 
Ganges !) amongst the few Indian nations of which the author of those 
tables had heard. The first reference to their language I find made by 
any foreigner is in the memoirs of Hwen Thsang, the Chinese pilgrim, 
about the middle of the seventh century a.d,, who states that the lan- 
guage of the Andhras difi'ered from that of Central India, whilst the 
forms of the written characters were for the most part the same. It 
is clear from this that Telugu culture had already made considerable 
progress, especially amongst the Andhra branch of the nation. Hence 
it naturally happened that the name of the Andhras, instead of that of 


the Kalingas, who inhabited the more remote seaboard, and were per- 
haps less cultured, was given by Sanskrit writers to the language which 
both branches of the nation spoke in common. It occupies the first 
place — not Kalinga or Trilinga — in the compound term, Andhra- 
Dr^vida-bhash^, by which Kumdrila-bhatta, shortly after Hwen Thsang'a 
date, designated what he appears to have supposed to be the one lan- 
guage spoken by the Dravidians. 

Telugu is the name by which the language is called by the Telugu 
people themselves other ; forms of which name are Telungu, Telinga, 
Tailinga, Tenugu, and Tenuiigu. The name has been corrupted still 
further in various directions by Muhammedans and other foreigners. 
One of the above-mentioned forms, Tenugu or Tenungu, is sometimes 
represented by Telugu pandits as the original form of the word, and 
the meaning they attribute to it is sweetness. This derivation seems 
to have been an afterthought, suggested by the resemblance of the word 
to tene, honey ; but there is more reason for it — both on account of the 
resemblance between the two words, and also on account of the exceed- 
ingly melli-^ViOW^ character of the Telugu language, than for the corre- 
sponding afterthought of the Tamil pandits, respecting the meaning 
of the word Tamir. 

The favourite derivation of Telugu pandits for Telugu or Telungu, 
the ordinary name of their language, is from Trilinga, ' the language 
of the three lingas;' that is, as they represent, of the country of which 
three celebrated linga temples constituted the boundaries. This deri- 
vation was accepted by Mr A. D. Campbell, but is rejected by Mr C. 
P. Brown, who affirms it to be an invention of modern poets, and 
regards the name Telugu as devoid of any known root. Probably so 
much of the theory as is built on the connection of the name with 
certain temples may be unceremoniously discarded ; but the derivation 
of the name itself from trilinga (without committing ourselves to the 
determination of the sense in which the word linga is used) may per- 
haps be found to be deserving of a better fate. If the derivation of 
Telugu from Trilinga be an invention, it must be admitted to have at 
least the merit of being an ingenious invention ; for though it is quite 
true, as Mr Brown observes, that Trilinga, as a name of a country, is 
not found in any of the lists of Indian countries contained in the 
Pur^nas, yet the existence of such a name seems capable of being 
established by reliable evidence derived from other sources. Taranatha, 
the Tibetan author already referred to, who derived his information, 
not from modern Telugu poets or pandits, but from Indian Buddhis- 
tical narratives (which, having been written before Buddhism dis- 
appeared from India, must have been of considerable antiquity), 


repeatedly designates the Telugu country Trilinga, and describes 
Kalinga as a portion of Trilinga, and Kalingapura as its capital. The 
name of Trilinga had reached Ptolemy himself at a time anterior 
probably to the date of the Puranas. It is true his Tp/yXuTrrov {Tpiy- 
Xvpov ?) TO xcci T^iXtyyov ISaaiXunv is placed by him to the east of the 
Ganges ; but the names of places mentioned by Ptolemy seem generally 
much more reliable than the positions he assigns to them ; and it is 
conceivable that the mariners or merchants from whom he derived his 
information spoke of the place in question merely as beyond the Ganges, 
without being certain whether it was east or south. We have seen that 
in like manner the " Peutinger Tables " place the Andre Indi — about 
whose identity with the Telugu people there can be no doubt — beyond 
the Ganges. The foreign name Trilingam must have been the name 
by which the place was called by the natives of the place, whilst Tri- 
glypton or Triglyphon must have been a translation of the name which 
had come into use amongst the Greeks. Hence the antiquity of Trilinga, 
as the name of a state, or of the capital city of a state, situated some- 
where in India in Ptolemy's time, must be admitted to be established. 
The word linga forms the second portion of the name of several Indian 
nations mentioned by Pliny (after Megasthenes), as the Bolingae, and 
the Maccocalingse, a various reading of which is Maccolingse. 

Another name mentioned by Pliny, Modogalingam, involves some 
difficulty. He says — " Insula in Gauge est magnse magnitudinis gentem 
continens unam, Modogalingam nomine." Mr A. D. Campbell, in the 
Introduction to his " Telugu Grammar," represented the modoga of this 
name as the ancient Telugu word for three, and hence argued that Mo- 
dogalingam was identical with Trilingam. If this identification were 
admitted, not only would the antiquity of Trilingam be firmly estab- 
lished, but also the opinion of the pandits that the original name of 
their language was Trilinga, and that this Trilinga became gradually 
Telinga, Telungu, Telugu, and Tenugu, would be confirmed. The 
Telugu word for ' three,' however, is not modoga, but mMu. mMugu 
might be used ; but it is a poetical form, the use of which would be 
pedantic. Mr C. P. Brown prefers to write the name of the nation 
referred to by Pliny (after a MS. in Sillig's edition) "modo Galingam," 
and considers this Galingam equivalent to Galingam. The change of 
c (yt) into g in such a connection would be quite in accordance with 
Telugu laws of sound, provided modo, as well as Galingam, were a 
Telugu word ; and if it were Telugu it would more naturally represent 
mitdUj three, than anything else. On this supposition, modo-Galingam 
would mean, not indeed ' the three lingas,' but ' the three Kalingas;' 
and it is remarkable that the corresponding expressioii Tri-kalinga has 


been found in actual use in India. General Cunningliam, in his 
*' Ancient Geography of India," mentions an inscription in which a 
line of kings assumed the title of ' lords of Tri-kalinga.' Dr Kern 
also, in his translation of Varaha-mihira's " Brihat-samhita," mentions 
that the name Tri-kaliuga is found in one of the Puranas ; and the 
same name has recently been found in an inscription on a copperplate, 
referred to in the proceedings of the Bengal Asiatic Society for 1872, 
p. 171. General Cunningham thinks it probable that there is a refer- 
ence to these three Kalingas in the circumstance that Pliny mentions 
the Macco-Calingae and the Gangarides-Calingse as separate nations 
from the Calingse ; and that the Maha-bharata mentions the Kalingas 
three times, and each time in connection with different neighbours. 
The circumstance that Modogalingam is represented as an ' island in 
the Ganges' presents no insuperable obstacle to its identification with 
Tri-kalinga or Telingana. The term island has often been used very 
vaguely. Taran^tha calls the Tamil country an island ; and Kalinga 
was supposed to be a Gangetic country by Sanskrit writers themselves, 
who generally agreed in representing it as the last of the districts visited 
by the Ganges. It is also to be remembered that the Godavari is 
often supposed by natives to be somehow identical with the Ganges. 
General Cunningham thinks Telinga derived, not from Trilinga, but 
from Tri-kalinga, but this derivation of the word needs to be historic- 
ally confirmed. Kalinga and iinga may probably in some way be con- 
nected, but the nature and history of the connection have not as yet 
been made out. 

One of the names by which the Telugu language is known in the 
Tamil country is Vadugu, and a Telugu man, especially if a member 
of the Nayakka caste, is called a Vadugan. The root of this is vada, 
north, the Telugu country lying to the north of the Tamil. This word 
explains the name ' Badages,' by which certain marauding hordes were 
designated by the early Portuguese, and in the letters of St Francis 
Xavier. Mr C. P. Brown informs me that the early French missionaries 
in the Guntur country wrote a vocabulary " de la langue Talenga, dite 
vulgairement le Badega." 

IV, — Canarese. — The next place is occupied by Canarese, properly 
the Kannada, or Karnataka, which is spoken throughout the plateau 
of Mysore, in the southern Mahratta country, and in some of the 
western districts of the Nizam's territory, as far north as Beder. 
It is spoken also (together with Malayalam, Tulu, and Konkani, but 
more extensively than any of them) in the district of Canara, pro- 
perly Kannadiyam, on the Malabar coast, a district which was sub- 


jected for centuries to the rule of Canarese princes, and hence acquired 
the name by which it is at present known. The speech of the Badagas 
(* people from the north'), commonly called by the English Burghers, 
the most numerous class of people inhabiting the Neilgherry hills, is 
undoubtedly an ancient Canarese dialect. The Canarese, properly so 
called, includes, like the Tamil, two dialects — classical, commonly 
called Ancient Canarese, and the colloquial or modern ; of which the 
former differs from the latter, not — as classical Telugu and Malayalam 
differ from the colloquial dialects of those languages — by containing a 
larger infusion of Sanskrit derivatives, but by the use of different 
inflexional terminations. The dialect called Ancient Canarese is not 
to be confounded with the character denoted by that name, which is 
found in many ancient inscriptions in the Maratha country, as well as 
in Mysore. The language of all really ancient inscriptions in the Hala 
Kannada, or Ancient Canarese character, is Sanskrit, not Canarese. 

The people that speak the Canarese language may be estimated at 
nine millions and a quarter ; but, in the case of both Canarese and 
Telugu, the absence of a trustworthy census of the inhabitants of the 
Nizam's territory, requires such estimates to be considered as mere 
approximations. In that territory four languages — Canarese, Mar^thi, 
Telugu, and Hindustani — are spoken by different classes in different 
districts ; but it is difficult to ascertain the proportionate prevalence 
of each with any degree of certainty. 

The term Karnata or Karnataka is said to have been a generic term, 
including both the Telugu and Canarese peoples and their languages, 
though it is admitted that it usually denoted the latter alone, and 
though it is to the latter that the abbreviated form Kannadam has 
been appropriated. Karndtaha (that which belongs to Karndta) is 
regarded as a Sanskrit word by native pandits, but I agree with Dr 
Gundert in preferring to derive it from the Dravidian words kar, black, 
ndd-u (the adjectival form of which in Telugu is iidt-i), country — that 
is, the black country — a term very suitable to designate the " black, 
cotton soil," as it is called, of the plateau of the Southern Dekhan. The 
use of the term is of considerable antiquity, as we find it in Varaha- 
mihira at the beginning of the fifth century a.d. Taranatha also men- 
tions Karnata. The word Karnata or Karnataka, though at first a 
generic term, became in process of time the appellation of the Canarese 
people and of their language alone, to the entire exclusion of the 
Telugu. Karnataka has now got into the hands of foreigners, who 
have given it a new and entirely erroneous application. When the 
Muhammedans arrived in Southern India, they found that part of it 
with which they first becam^e acquainted — the country above the 


Ghauts, including Mysore and part of Teling^na^called tlie Kar- 
n^taka country. In course of time, by a misapplication of terms, 
they applied the same name, the Karn^tak, or Carnatic, to designate 
the country below the Ghauts, as well as that which was above. The 
English have carried the misapplication a step further, and restricted 
the name to the country below the Ghauts, which never had any right 
to it whatever. Hence the Mysore country, which is properly the 
Carnatic, is no longer called by that name by the English ; and what is 
now geographically termed ' the Carnatic ' is exclusively the country 
below the Ghauts, on the Coromandel coast, including the whole of 
the Tamil country, and the district of Nellore only in the Telugu 
country. The word Karn^taka was further corrupted by the Canarese 
people themselves into Kannada or Kannara, from which the language 
is styled by the English ' Canarese.' 

V. TuLU. — Next in the list of cultivated Dravidian languages 
stands Tulu or Tuluva. The claim of this peculiar and very interest- 
ing language to be ranked amongst the cultivated members of the 
family may perhaps be regarded as open to question, seeing that it is 
destitute of a literature in the proper sense of the term, and never had 
a character of its own. The Canarese character having been used by the 
Basle missionaries in the Tulu books printed by them at Mangalore — 
the only books ever printed in Tulu — that character has now become 
inseparably associated with the language. Notwithstanding its want 
of a literature, Tulu is one of the most highly developed languages of 
the Dravidian family. It looks as if it had been cultivated for its own 
sake, and it is well worthy of careful study. This language is spoken 
in a very limited district and by a very small number of people. The 
Chandragiri and Kalydnapuri rivers, in the district of Canara^ are 
regarded as its ancient boundaries, and it does not appear ever to have 
extended much beyond them. The number of the Tulu-sp^aking 
people has been found not to exceed 300,000, and their country is 
broken in upon to such a degree by other languages that Tulu might 
be expected soon to disappear. All Tulu Christians are taught Canar- 
ese as well as Tulu. Tulu, however, shows, it is said, no signs of 
disappearing, and the people have the reputation of being the most 
conservative portion of the Dravidian race. The name Tulu means, 
according to Mr Brigel, mild, meek, humble, and is to be regarded 
therefore as properly denoting the people, not their language. 

Tulu was supposed by Mr Ellis to be merely a dialect of Malaydlam ; 
but although Malayalam characters were and still are, ordinarily 
employed by Tulu Brdhmans in writing Sanskrit, in consequence of 


the prevalence of MalayMam in the vicinity, the supposition that Tula 
was a dialect of Malay^lam can no longer be entertained. The publi- 
cation of Mr Brigel's " Tulu Grammar " has thrown much new light 
on this peculiarly interesting language. It differs far more widely from 
Malay Mam than Malay alam does from Tamil. It differs widely, but not 
so widely, from Canarese ; still less so from Coorg. The dialect from 
which it differs most widely is Tamil. There is a tradition mentioned by 
Mr Ellis, in his treatise on Mirasi right, to the effect that the ancient 
Kurumbars or nomadic shepherds, in the neighbourhood of Madras, 
were expelled and their lands given to Vellalas from Tuluva ; and this 
tradition is confirmed by the fact that certain Vellala families in that 
neighbourhood call themselves, and are called by others, Tuluva 
Vellalas. Probably, however, the number of Tuluva immigrants was 
not very considerable, for there is no trace of any infusion of the pecu- 
liarities of Tulu into the colloquial Tamil of Madras, which, if it differs 
in any degree from the Tamil spoken in the rest of the Tamil country, 
differs, not in a Tulu, but in a Telugu direction. 

VI. KuDAGU or Coorg. — Last in the list of cultivated Dravidian 
languages is the language of Coorg ; but though I have thought it best 
to give this language a place amongst the cultivated members of the 
family, the propriety of doing so seems to me still more doubtful 
than that of placing Tulu in this list. Coorg is a small but inter- 
esting district, formerly an independent principality, beautifully 
situated amongst the ridges of the Western Ghauts, between Mysore 
on the east and North Malabar and South Canara on the west. 
The native spelling of Coorg is usually Kodagii^ properly Kudagu, 
from kuda, west, a meaning of the word which is usual in Ancient 
Tamil. In the first edition of this work this language had not 
assigned to it a place of its own, but was included under the head of 
Canarese. It had been generally considered rather as an uncultivated 
dialect of Canarese, modified by Tulu, than as a distinct language. I 
mentioned then, however, that Dr Mogling, a German missionary, who 
had resided for some time amongst the Coorgs, was of opinion that 
their language was more closely allied to Tamil and Malayalam than 
to Canarese. It is not quite clear to me yet to which of the Dravidian 
dialects it is most closely allied. On the whole, however, it seems 
safest to regard it as standing about midway between Old Canarese and 
Tulu. Like Tulu it has the reputation of puzzling strangers by the 
peculiarities of its pronunciation. A grammar of the Coorg language 
has been published by Major Cole, Superintendent of Coorg, and some 
specimens of Coorg songs, with an epitome of the grammar by the 


Eev. B. Grater of Mangalore. '' Like the similar dialects spoken by 
the tribes of the Nilagiris, there can be no doubt that this language has 
preserved its form comparatively free from change owing to the retired 
position of the people who speak it. That the inhabitants of Coorg 
early settled on the Western Ghauts is shown by the primitive Dravi- 
dian custom of polyandria which they still follow. They are as yet far 
from being Brabmanised, and they have no literature in the proper 
sense of the word." BurnelFs " Specimens of South Indian Dialects," 
No. 3. 

The six languages which follow differ from those that have been 
mentioned in that they are entirely uncultivated, destitute of written 
characters, and comparatively little known. 

VII. TuDA. — Toda, properly Tuda, is the language of the Tudas 
or Tudavars, a primitive and peculiarly interesting tribe inhabiting 
the Neilgherry (Nilagiri) hills. It is now regarded as certain that the 
Tudas were not the original inhabitants of those hills, though it is 
still far from certain who the original inhabitants were. Their 
numbers could not at any time have exceeded a few thousands, and 
at present, probably through opium-eating and polyandria, and through 
the prevalence amongst them at a former period of female infanticide, 
they do not, it has been ascertained, number more than about 700 
souls. I have to thank the Rev. F. Metz, the veteran missionary 
among the Neilgherry tribes, for much information respecting the 
Tudas and their language ; and an interesting book has lately been 
written by Colonel Marshall, entitled "A Phrenologist among the 
Todas," in which everything that is known of this people is fully 
described. The same book contains a valuable epitome of the gram- 
mar of their language by the Rev. Dr Pope. Dr Pope connects the 
name of the Todas with the Tamil word tora, a herd ; but the d of 
Tuda is not the lingual c?, but the dental, which has no relationship 
to r or I. The derivation of the name may be regarded as at present 
unknown. See Appendix. 

VIII. KoTA. — The language of the Kotas, a small tribe of helot 
craftsmen inhabiting the Neilgherry hills, and numbering about eleven 
hundred souls. This language may be considered as a very old and 
very rude dialect of the Canarese, which was carried thither by a per- 
secuted low-caste tribe at some very remote period. Besides the 
languages of the Todas and Kotas, two other languages are vernacular 
on the Neilgherry hills-rviz., the dialect spoken by the Burghers or 
Badagars (the northern people), an ancient but organised dialect of 


the Canarese; and the rude Tamil spoken by the Irulars ('people 
of the darkness') and Kuruburs (Can. Kiiruharu, Tarn. Kurumhar, 
shepherds), who are occasionally stumbled upon by adventurous 
sportsmen in the denser, deeper jungles, and the smoke of whose 
fires may occasionally be seen rising from the lower gorges of the hills. 
See Appendix. 

IX. G6Np. — The language of the indigenous inhabitants of the 
extensive hilly and jungly tracts in Central India, formerly called 
G6ndwana. " In most old maps of India the territorial name Gond- 
wana is printed across the greater portion of the territory now known 
as the Central Provinces. G6ndwana extended from the Vindhya 
mountains to the Godavari, and embraced the SatpurS, range. Of 
the districts now under the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, it included 
Korea, Sirguja, and Udaiplir; but Gond colonies are found as far 
east as the Katak Tributary MahMs, where they blend with the Kandhs 
and the Sauras, or Savaras, and they extend to Khandesh and M41w^ 
in the west, where they touch the Bhils. A considerable proportion 
of the population of this tract (the core of India) are Gonds, and they 
are by far the most numerous of the aboriginal people still found 
there." — Colonel Dalton's " Ethnology of Bengal." 

According to the recent census the various tribes included under the 
general name of Gonds number 1,634,578 souls. The Marias are 
regarded as the purest, and are certainly the wildest, tribe of G6nds. 
They sometimes call themselves KohitUr, a name which is evidently 
identical with Koitor, the name by which four out of the twelve tribes 
of Gonds call themselves. It has been asserted indeed that all the 
Gonds, when speaking of themselves in their own language, prefer to 
call themselves Koitors. This word is a plural appellative regularly 
formed from K6i. Much valuable information concerning the Gonds 
is contained in Colonel Dalton's " Ethnology of Bengal;" in the papers 
left in MS. by the late Eev. S. Hislop, edited by Sir K. Temple ; and 
in the Gazetteer of tlie Central Provinces. A grammar and vocabu- 
lary of the Gond language were published by the Bev. J. G. Driberg, 
at Bishop's College, Calcutta, in 1849. A translation of the Gospels 
of St Matthew and St Mark into Gond by the Kev. J. Dawson, 
published at Allahabad in 1872 — 73, furnishes us with a still more 
valuable contribution to the knowledge of the language. Mr Dawson 
has also recently published a brief grammar and vocabulary of the 
language in the Journal of the Bengal Asiatic Society. See Appendix. 

X. Khond ; more properly Ku. This is the language of the people 
who have hitherto been commonly called Khonds. By their neigh- 


bours in Orissa their name is said to be pronounced Kandhs; 
but by themselves they are called, it is said, Kus. They are a 
primitive race supposed to be allied to the Gonds, and inhabit the 
eastern parts of G6ndwana, Gumsur, and the hilly ranges .of Orissa, 
which constitute the Tributary Mahals. Colonel Dalton says they are 
not found further north than the 22nd degree of latitude, and that 
they extend south as far as Bastar, whence their position as the 
aboriginal people is taken up by the Savaras or Sauras. They acquired 
a bad notoriety for a long time, through their horrid practice of steal- 
ing the children of their neighbours of the plains, and offering them 
up in sacrifice — a practice now entirely suppressed. The meaning of 
the name of this people is involved in obscurity. Some consider 
Khond a kindred word with Gond, and derive both names from the 
Tamil word kundru, a hill, literally a small hill, the Telugu form of 
which is Iconda. This would be a very natural derivation for the name 
of a hill people ; but, unfortunately, their nearest neighbours, the 
Telugus, call them, not Konds or G6nds, but Gonds, also Kods ; and as 
they call themselves Kus, according to Mr Latchmaji, the author of 
the grammar of their language, the existence of any connection between 
their name and kundru or konda, a hill, seems very doubtful. The 
term Ku is evidently allied to Koi, the name by which the Gonds 
call themselves, and which they are fond of lengthening into K6itor. 
The Khonds, according to the late census, number nearly 270,000 
souls. See Appendix. 

XI. The Maler, commonly called the Rajmah^l, the language of 
the Pah&rias, or hill people, who seem to have been the original in- 
habitants of the Rajmah^l hills in Bengal. The brief vocabulary of 
the language of this tribe contained in the "Asiatic Researches," vol. 
v., and the somewhat fuller lists of words belonging to the same lan- 
guage contained in Mr Hodgson's and Sir George Campbell's collections 
and in Colonel Dalton's " Ethnology of Bengal," lead to the supposi- 
tion that the Rajmahal idiom is in its basis Dra vidian. This lan- 
guage is not to be confounded with the speech of the SantMs, a 
branch of the extensive K61 family inhabiting at present the skirts of 
the RajmahUl hills (but said to be mostly emigrants from the Haz^- 
rib^gh district), who belong to a stock totally different from that of 
the Malers. Unfortunately very little is known of the grammatical 
structure of this language. The numbers of the people by whom it is 
spoken have been ascertained to amount to 41,000. See Appendix. 


XII. Oraon. — The Oraons of ChUti^ Nagpfir and the neighbouring 


districts are estimated to amount to 263,000. A higher estimate has 
been made by Colonel Dalton, who has given a very full and interest- 
ing account of this tribe in his " Ethnology of Bengal." They have 
preserved,. like the Malers, the rudiments of a language substantially 
Dravidian, as appears from the lists of words collected by Mr Hodgson 
and Colonel Dalton, and especially from an epitome of the grammar of 
their language prepared by the Kev. F. Batsch. 

Their traditions are said to connect them with the Konkan, from 
which it is supposed they derive the name Khurnk, by which they 
invariably call themselves. They assert that for many generations 
they were settled on the Rohtas and adjoining hills in the Patna 
district, and that when driven out from thence, one party emigrated 
to the Rajmahal hills, the other went south-eastward till they arrived 
in the highlands of Ch^tia Nagplir. This tradition of the original 
identity of the MMers and the OrSons is borne out by the evident 
affinity of their languages, and, as Colonel Dalton mentions, by the 
similarity of their customs. According to their traditions, the Oraons 
arrived in Chuti^ N^gpur later than the Miindas and other Kolarians. 

Tuda, Kota, Gond, and Ku, though rude and uncultivated, are 
undoubtedly to be regarded as essentially Dravidian dialects, equally 
with the Tamil, the Canarese, and the Telugu. I feel some hesitation 
in placing in the same category the Rajmahal and the Oraon, seeing 
that they appear to contain so large an admixture of roots and forms 
belonging to some other family of tongues, probably the Kolarian. 
I venture, however, to classify them as in the main Dravidian, because 
the Dravidian roots they contain are roots of primary importance, 
including the pronouns and the first four numerals, from which it may 
fairly be inferred that these dialects belonged originally to the Dra- 
vidian family. The Oraon was considered by Mr Hodgson as a con- 
necting link between the K61 dialects and the M^ler ; the M^ler as 
a connecting link between the Kol and the distinctively Tamilian 
families. The Maler seems to me, on the whole, less distinctively 
Dravidian than the Or^on, perhaps because the M^ers, or hill men of 
Rajmahal, are locally more remote than the Oraons from the present 
seats of the Dravidian race. Sir George Campbell's lists of words 
belonging to the Maler and Oraon dialects appear to contain a larger 
proportion of words that can be recognised as distinctively Dravidian 
than any previous lists. See Appendix. 

The existence of a distinctively Dravidian element in two at least 
of these aboriginal dialects of the Central Provinces and Bengal being 
established, the Dravidian race can now be traced as far north as the 


confines of Bengal, if not also to the banks of the Ganges ; and the 
supposition that this race was diffused at an early period through 
the greater part of India is thereby confirmed. 

Colonel Dalton carries the Dravidian element still further than I 
have ventured to do. He says ("Ethnology of Bengal," p. 243), 
" The Dravidian element enters more largely into the composition of 
the population of Bengal than is generally supposed. I believe that 
a large majority of the tribes described as Hinduised aborigines might 
■with propriety have been included in this group. The people called 
Bhiiiyas, diffused through most of the Bengal districts, and massed in 
the jungle and tributary estates of Chllti^ N^gpur and Orissa, certainly 
belong to it ; and if I am right in my conjecture regarding the Kocch 
nation, they are of the same stock. I roughly estimate the Bhtiiyas 
at two and a half millions, and the Kocch at a million and a half, so 
that we have in these two peoples about one-tenth of the Bengal popu- 
lation, who in all probability should be classed as Dravidian." I hesitate 
for the present to endorse this supposition, in the absence of lingual 
affinities of any kind and of physical characteristics — if there are any 
such even amongst the Dravidians themselves — that can be regarded as 
distinctively Dravidian. 

Leaving these doubtful races out of account, I here exhibit the 
numbers, as far as can be ascertained by the census of 1871, of the 
various peoples and tribes by whom distinctively Dravidian lan- 
guages are spoken. I have added together the census results obtained 
in each of the Indian Presidencies, and have also included the Dra- 
vidian inhabitants of Ceylon, and the Dravidian immigrants in Burma, 
the eastern archipelago, Mauritius, Demerara, &c. The only serious 
doubt I have is with regard to the numbers of the Telugu people, and 
this doubt is owing to the difficulty I have met with in endeavouring 
to estimate the proportion of the Telugu-speaking people inhabiting 
the Nizam's territory. I have estimated them at three millions. If 
the number should turn out to be higher or lower than this, a corre- 
sponding change will have to be made in the accompanying list. 

The numbers of the several races by whom the languages and dialects 
mentioned above are spoken, appear to be as follows — 

1. Tamil, 

2. Telugu, 

3. Canarese, . 

4. Malay alam, 

5. Tulu, * . 

G. Kudagu or Coorff, 







Carryforward, . ... 43,450,000 



Brought forward, 


7. Tuda, 


8. Kota, 


9. G6nd, 


10. KhondorKu, 


11.. Rajmah^l, . 


12. Or^on, 



According to this estimate the Dravidian-speaking peoples amount 
to nearly forty-six millions of souls. 

In this enumeration of the Dravidian languages I have not included 
the idioms of the Eamusis, the Lambadis, and various other wander- 
ing, predatory, or forest tribes. The Lambadis, the gipsies of the 
Peninsula, speak a dialect of Hindiistani ; the Ramiisis a patois of 
Telugu ; the tribes inhabiting the hills and forests, corrupted dialects 
of the languages of the contiguous plains. None of these dialects is 
found to differ essentially from the speech of the more cultivated 
classes residing in the same neighbourhood. The Male-arasas, ' hill- 
kings ' (in MalayMam, Mala-arayas), the hill tribe inhabiting the 
Southern Ghauts, speak corrupt Malayalam in the northern part of the 
range, where Malayalam is the prevailing language, and corrupt Tamil, 
with a tinge of Malayalam, in the southern, in the vicinity of Tamil- 
Bpeaking districts. 

In the above list of the Dravidian languages I have not included the 
Ho, the Munda, or any of the rest of the languages of the Kols, the 
Savaras, and other rude tribes of Central India and of Bengal, called 
* Kolarian ' by Sir George Campbell, and included by Mr Hodgson 
under the general term Tamulian. These languages might naturally 
be supposed to be allied to Gond or Ku, to Or^on or Eijmahal, and 
consequently to be of Dravidian origin ; but though a few Dravidian 
words may perhaps be detected in some of them, their grammjv- 
tical structure shows that they belong to a totally different family 
of languages. Without the evidence of similarity in grammatical struc- 
ture, the discovery of a small number of similar words seems to 
prove only local proximity, or the existence of mutual intercourse at 
an earlier or later j^eriod, not the original relationship either of races 
or of languages. 

I leave also out of account the languages of the north-eastern frontier 
of India, which are spoken by the Bodos, Dhim^ls, and other tribes 
inhabiting the mountains and forests between Kumaon and Assam. 
These were styled Tamulian by Mr Hodgson, on the supposition that 
all the aborigines of India, as distinguished from the Aryans, or San- 


skrit-speaking race and its offshoots, belonged to one and tlie same 
stock ; and that of this aboriginal race, the Tamilians of Southern 
India were to be considered the best representatives. But as the 
relationship of those north-eastern idioms to the languages of the 
Dravidian family, is unsupported by the evidence either of similarity in 
grammatical structure or of a similar vocabulary, and is founded only 
on such general grammatical analogies as are common to the whole 
range of the Scythian group of languages, it seems to me almost as 
improper to designate those dialects Tamilian or Dravidian, as it would 
be to designate them Turkish or Tungusian. Possibly they may form 
a link of connection between the Indo-Chinese or Tibetan family of 
tongues, and the K61arian ; but even this is at present little better 
than an assumption. Professor Max Muller proposed to call all the non- 
Aryan languages of India, including the Sub-Himalayan, the K61, and 
the Tamilian families, Nish^da-languages, the ancient aborigines being 
often termed Nish^das in the Pur^nas. Philologically, I think, the use 
of this common term is to be deprecated, inasmuch as the Dravidian 
languages differ so widely from the others, that they possess very few 
features in common. For the present, I have no doubt that the safest 
common appellation is the negative one, non- Aryan, or non-Sanskritic. 

Brahui, the language of the mountaineers in the khanship of Kelat 
in Beluchistan, contains not only some Dravidian words, but a consi- 
derable infusion of distinctively Dravidian forms and idioms ; in conse- 
quence of which this language has a better claim to be regarded as 
Dravidian or Tamilian than any of the languages of the Nepal and 
Bhutan frontier, which had been styled ' Tamulian ' by Mr Hodgson. 
I have not included, however, the Brahui in the list of Dravidian 
languages which are to be subjected to systematic comparison (though I 
shall give some account of it in the Appendix, and shall refer to it occa- 
sionally for illustration), because the Dravidian element contained in it 
bears but a small proportion to the rest of its component elements. 

It is true that the great majority of the words in the Brahui language 
seem altogether unconnected with Dravidian roots; but it will bo 
evident from the analogies in structure, as well as in the vocabulary, 
which will be exhibited in the Appendix, that this language contains 
many grammatical forms essentially and distinctly Dravidian, together 
with a small proportion of important Dravidian words. The Brahuis 
state that their forefathers came from Haleb (Aleppo) ; but even if this 
tradition could be regarded as a credible one, it would apply to the 
secondary or conquering race, apparently of Indo-European origin, not 
to their Dravidian predeceteors. The previous existence of the latter 
race seems to have been forgotten, and the only evidence that they ever 


existed is that which is furnished by the Dravidian element which has 
been discovered in the language of their conquerors. 

The Brahui enables us to trace the Dravidian race beyond the Indus 
to the southern confines of Central Asia. The Brahui language, con- 
sidered as a whole, seems to be derived from the same source as the 
Panj^bi and Sindhi, but it evidently contains a Dravidian element ; and 
the discovery of this Dravidian element in a language spoken beyond 
the Indus tends to show that the Dravidians, like the Aryans, the 
Grseco-Scythians, and the Turco-Mongolians, must have entered India 
by the north-western route.. See Appendix. 

The Dravidian Idioms not merely Provincial Dialects of the 
SAME Language. 

Though I have described the twelve vernacular idioms mentioned in 
the foregoing list as dialects or varieties of one and the same original 
Dravidian language, it would be erroneous to consider them as dialects 
in the popular sense of the term — viz., as provincial peculiarities or 
varieties of speech. Of all those idioms no two are so nearly related 
to each other that persons who speak them can be mutually understood. 
The most nearly related are Tamil and Malayalam ; and yet it is only 
the simplest and most direct sentences in the one language that are 
intelligible to those who speak only the other. Involved sentences in 
either language, abounding in verbal and nominal inflexions, or con- 
taining conditions and reasons, will be found by those who speak only 
the other language, to be unintelligible. Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, 
and Canarese, have each a distinct and independent literary culture ; 
and each of the three former — Tamil, Malayalam, and Telugu — has a 
System of written characters peculiar to itself. The modern Canarese 
character has been borrowed from that of the Telugu, and differs but 
slightly from it ; but the Canarese language differs even more widely 
from Telugu than it does from Tamil ; and the Ancient Canarese char- 
acter is exceedingly unlike the character of the Telugu. 

Of the six cultivated Dravidian dialects mentioned above — Tamil, 
Telugu, Canarese, Malayalam, Tulu, Kuduga — the farthest removed 
from each other are Tamil and Telugu. The great majority of the roots 
in both languages are, it is true, identical ; but they are often so dis- 
guised in composition by peculiarities of inflexion and dialectic changes, 
that not one entire sentence in the one language is intelligible to those 
who are acquainted only with the other. The various Dravidian 
idioms, though sprung from a common origin, are therefore to be con- 
sidered not as mere provincial dialects of the same speech, but as dis- 


tinct though affiliated languages. They are as distinct one from the 
other as Spanish from Italian, Hebrew from Aramaic, Sindhi from Ben- 
gali. If the cultivated Dravidian idioms differ so materially from each 
other, it will naturally be supposed that the uncultivated idioms — 
Tuda, Kota, Gond, Khond, and the Or^ion — must differ still more 
widely both from one another and from the cultivated languages. This 
supposition is in accordance with facts. So many and great are the 
differences and peculiarities observable amongst these rude dialects, 
that it has seemed to me to be necessary to prove, not that they differ, 
but that they belong, notwithstanding their differences, to the same 
stock as the more cultivated tongues, and that they have an equal right 
to be termed Dravidian. 

Evidence that Tuda, K6ta, G6nd, Khond, and Oraon, are Dravidian 
tongues, and also evidence of the existence of a Dravidian element in 
Brahui, has been transferred from the Introduction, in which it was 
included in the first edition, to the Appendix. 

The Dravidian Languages independent of Sanskrit. 

It was supposed by the Sanskrit Pandits (by whom everything with 
which they were acquainted was referred to a Brdhmanical origin), and 
too hastily taken for granted by the earlier European scholars, that 
the Dravidian languages, though differing in many particulars from 
the North Indian idioms, were equally with them derived from the 
Sanskrit. They could not but see that each of the Dravidian lan- 
guages to which their attention had been drawn contained a certain 
proportion of Sanskrit words, some of which were quite unchanged, 
though some were so much altered as to be recognised with diffi- 
culty ; and though they observed clearly enough that each language 
contained also many non-Sanskrit words and forms, they did not 
observe that those words and forms constituted the bulk of the 
language, or that it was in them that the living spirit of the language 
resided. Consequently they contented themselves with ascribing the 
non-Sanskrit portion of these languages to an admixture of a foreign 
element of unknown origin. According to this view there was no 
essential difference between the ' Draviras ' and the 'Gauras;' for 
the Bengali and other languages of the Gaurian group appear to con- 
tain also a small proportion of non-Sanskritic words and forms, whilst 
in the main they are corruptions of Sanskrit. This representation fell 
far short of the real state of the case, and the supposition of the deriva- 
tion of the Dravidian languages from Sanskrit, though entertained in 
the past generation by a Colebrooke, a Carey, and a Wilkins, is now 


known to be entirely destitute of foundation. The orientalists referred 
to, though deeply learned in Sanskrit, and well acquainted with the 
idioms of Northern India, were unacquainted, or but very slightly 
acquainted, with the Dravidian languages. No person who has any 
acquaintance with the principles of comparative philology, and who 
has carefully studied the grammars and vocabularies of the Dravidian 
languages, and compared them with those of Sanskrit, can suppose the 
grammatical structure and inflexional forms of those languages and 
the greater number of their more important roots capable of being 
derived from Sanskrit by any process of development or corruption 

The hypothesis of the existence of a remote original affinity between 
the Dravidian languages and Sanskrit, or rather between those lan- 
guages and the Indo-European family of tongues, inclusive of Sanskrit, 
of such a nature as to allow us to give the Dravidian languages a place 
in the Indo-European group, is altogether different from the notion of 
the direct derivation of those languages from Sanskrit. The hypo- 
thesis of a remote original affinity is favoured by some interesting 
analogies both in the grammar and in the vocabulary, which will be 
noticed in their place. Some of those analogies are best accounted 
for by the supposition of the retention by the Dravidian family, as by 
Finnish and Turkish, of a certain number of roots and forms belonging 
to the prae-Aryan period, the period which preceded the final separa- 
tion of the Indo-European group of tongues from the Scythian. I 
think I shall also be able to prove, with respect to one portion at least 
of the analogies referred to, that instead of the Dravidian languages 
having borrowed them from Sanskrit, or both having derived them 
from a common source, Sanskrit has not disdained to borrow them 
from its Dravidian neighbours. Whatever probabilities may be in 
favour of the hypothesis now mentioned, the older sujjposition of the 
direct derivation of the Dravidian languages from Sanskrit, in the 
same manner as Hindi, Bengali, and the other Gaurian dialects are 
directly derived from it, was certainly erroneous. (1.) It overlooked 
the circumstance that the non-Sanskritic portion of the Dravidian lan- 
guages was very greatly in excess of the Sanskrit. (2.) It overlooked 
the still more material circumstance that the pronouns and numerals 
of the Dravidian languages, their verbal and nominal inflexions, and 
the syntactic arrangement of their words — everything, in short, which 
constitutes the living spirit of a language — were originally and radi- 
cally different from Sanskrit. (3.) The orientalists who held the 
opinion of the derivation of the Dravidian languages from Sanskrit, 
relied mainly on the circumstance that all dictionaries of Dravidian 


languages contained a large number of Sanskrit words scarcely at all 
altered, and a still larger number which, though much altered, were 
evidently Sanskrit derivatives. They were not, however, aware that 
such words are never regarded by native scholars as of Dravidian 
origin, but are known and acknowledged to be derived from Sanskrit, 
and that they are arranged in classes, according to the degree in which 
they have been corrupted, or with reference to the medium through 
which they have been derived. They were also unaware that true 
Dravidian words, which form the great majority of the words in the 
southern vocabularies, are placed by native grammarians in a different 
class from the above-mentioned derivatives from Sanskrit, and honoured 
with the epithets ' national words ' and ' pure words.' The Telugu 
grammarians, according to Mr A. D. Campbell, specify even the time 
when Sanskrit derivatives were first introduced into Telugu ; by which 
we are doubtless to understand the time when the Brhamans estab- 
lished themselves in the Telugu country. They say, " The adherents 
of king Andhra-r^ya, who then resided on the banks of the Godavari, 
spoke Sanskrit derivatives, many of which words in course of time 
became corrupted. The other class of words consisting of nouns, 
verbals, and verbs, which were created by the god Brahma before the 
time of this king, are called ' pure (Telugu) words.' The date of the 
reign of this Andhra-r%a, or king of the Andhras or Andhras, who is 
now worshipped at Chicacole as a deity, is unknown. Mr C. P. Brown 
says, " The name Andhra R^ya occurs in none of the inscriptions 
recorded in my ' Cyclic Tables.' Nor have I found it in any poem. 
It was perhaps a title assumed by some raja of whom nothing is 
recorded." An Andha-bhritya dynasty of kings commenced to reign 
in Magadha, according to Wilson (Vishnu Purana) in 18 B.C. Pos- 
sibly, however, the Telugu king Andhra-r^ya was merely a creation of 
the poets. 

In general no difficulty is felt in distinguishing Sanskrit derivatives 
from the ancient Dravidian roots. There are a few cases only in which 
it may be doubtful whether particular words are Sanskrit or Dravidian 
— e.g., nir, water, and mtn, fish, are claimed as component parts of 
both languages, though I believe that both are of Dravidian origin. 



COMPARATIVE LIST of Sixty Words of Primary Importance 
(not including Pronouns and Numerals) in Sanskrit 
AND Tamil. 

































































hand, < 

Jiasta, ) 
karajf j 
















































ap, nira,^ 





fish, 1 

matsya, \ 
mina* ] 













mar am. 



































9^, . 











(4.) The Orientalists who supposed the Dravidian languages to be 
derived from Sanskrit were not aware of the existence of uncultivated 
languages of the Dravidian family, in which Sanskrit words are not at 
all, or but very rarely, employed; and they were also not aware that 

See Glossarial AflBnities, I. 

t See Glossarial Affinities, II. 


some of the Dravidian languages wliich make use of Sanskrit deri- 
vatives, are able to dispense with those derivatives altogether, such 
derivatives being considered rather as luxuries or articles of finery than 
as necessaries. It is true it would now be difficult for Telugu to dis- 
pense with its Sanskrit : more so for Canarese ; and most of all for 
Malayalam : — those languages having borrowed from Sanskrit so 
largely, and being so habituated to look up to it for help, that it 
would be scarcely possible for them now to assert their independence. 
Tamil, however, the most highly cultivated ah intra of all Dravidian 
idioms, can dispense with its Sanskrit altogether, if need be, and not 
only stand alone but flourish without its aid.] 

The ancient or classical dialect of the Tamil languages, called Shen- 
Tamil (S'en-Damir) or correct Tamil, in which nearly all the literature 
has been written, contains exceedingly little Sanskrit ; and differs from 
the colloquial dialect, or the language of prose, chiefly in the sedulous 
and jealous care with which it has rejected the use of Sanskrit deriva- 
tives and characters, and restricted itself to pure Ancient Dravidian 
sounds, forms, and roots. TSo completely has this jealousy of Sanskrit 
pervaded the minds of the educated classes amongst the Tamilians, that 
a Tamil poetical composition is regarded as in accordance with good 
taste and worthy of being called classical, not in proportion to the 
amount of Sanskrit it contains, as would be the case in some other 
dialects, but in proportion to its freedom from Sanskrit \\ The speech 
of the very lowest classes of the people in the retired country districts 
accords to a considerable extent with the classical dialect in dispensing 
with Sanskrit derivatives. In every country it is in the poetry and in 
the speech of the peasantry that the ancient condition of the language is 
best studied. It is in studied Tamil prose compositions, and in the or- 
dinary speech of the Brahmans and the more learned Tamilians, that the 
largest infusion of Sanskrit is contained ; and the words that have been 
borrowed from Sanskrit are chiefly those which express abstract ideas 
of philosophy, science, and religion, together with the technical terms of 
the more elegant arts. (Even in prose compositions on religious sub- 
jects, in which a larger amount of Sanskrit is employed than in any 
other department of literature, the proportion of Sanskrit which has 
found its way into Tamil is not greater than the amount of Latin con- 
tained in corresponding compositions in English'!^ Let us, for example, 
compare the amount of Sanskrit contained in the Tamil translation 
of the Ten Commandments with the amount of Latin which is con- 
tained in the English version of the same formula, and which has 
found its way into it, either directly from ecclesiastical Latin, or 
indirectly, through the medium of Norman-French. Of forty-three 


nouns and adjectives in tlie English version twenty-nine are Anglo- 
Saxon, fourteen Latin : of fifty-three nouns and adjectives in Tamil (tlia 
difference in idiom causes this difference in the number) thirty-two are 
Dravidian, twenty-one Sanskrit. Of twenty verbs in English, thirteen 
are Anglo-Saxon, seven Latin : of thirty-four verbs in Tamil, twenty- 
seven are Dravidian, and only seven Sanskrit. Of the five numerals 
which are found in English, either in their cardinal or their ordinal 
shape, all are Anglo-Saxon : of the six numerals found in Tamil, five 
are Dravidian, one (' thousand ') is Sanskrit. Putting all these num- 
bers together for the purpose of ascertaining the percentage, I find that 
in the department of nouns, numerals, and verbs, the amount of the 
foreign element is in both instances the same — viz., as nearly as 
possible forty-five per cent. In both instances, also, all the pronouns, 
prepositions, adverbs, and conjunctions, and all the inflexional forms 
and connecting particles, are the property of the native tongue. 

Archbishop Trench's expressions respecting the character of the con- 
tributions which our mother-English has received from Anglo-Saxon 
and from Latin respectively, are exactly applicable to the relation and 
proportion which the native Dravidian element bears to the Sanskrit 
contained in Tamil. " All its joints, its whole articulation, its sinews 
and its ligaments, the great body of articles, pronouns, conjunctions, 
prepositions, numerals, auxiliary verbs, all smaller words which serve 
to knit together, and bind the larger into sentences, these, not to speak 
of the grammatical structure of the language, are exclusively Anglo- 
Saxon (Dravidian). The Latin (Sanskrit) may contribute its tale of 
bricks, yea, of goodly and polished hewn stones, to the spiritual build- 
ing, but the mortar, with all that holds and binds these together, and 
constitutes them into a house, is Anglo-Saxon (Dravidian) throughout." 

Though the proportion of Sanskrit which we find to be contained in 
the Tamil version of the Ten Commandments happens to correspond 
so exactly to the proportion of Latin contained in the English version, 
it would be an error to conclude that the Tamil language is as deeply 
indebted to Sanskrit as English is to Latin. Tamil can readily dis- 
pense with the greater part or the whole of its Sanskrit, (and by dis- 
pensing with it rises to a purer and more refined style ; whereas English 
cannot abandon its Latin without abandoning perspicuity. Anglo- 
Saxon has no synonyms of its own for many of the words it has 
borrowed from Latin ; bo that if it were obliged to dispense with them, 
it would, in most cases, be under the necessity of using a very awkward 
periphrasis instead of a single word. Tamil, on the other hand, is 
peculiarly rich in synonyms ; and generally it is not through any real 
necessity, but from choice and the fashion of the age, that it makes 


use of Sanskrit. If the Ten Commandments were expressed in the 
speech of the lower classes of the Tamil people, the proportion cf 
Sanskrit would be very greatly diminished ; and if we wished to raise 
the style of the translation to a refined and classical pitch, Sanskrit 
would almost entirely disappear. Of the entire number of words con- 
tained in this formula there is only one which could not be expressed 
with faultless propriety and poetic elegance in equivalents of pure 
Dravidian origin. That word is ' image ! ' Both word and thing are 
foreign to primitive Tamil usages and habits of thought, and were 
introduced into the Tamil country by the Brahmans, with the Puranic 
system of religion and the worship of idols. (Through the predominant 
influence of the religion of the Brahmans, the majority of the words 
expressive of religious ideas* in actual use in modern Tamil are of San- 
skrit origin, and though there are equivalent Dravidian words which 
are equally appropriate, and in some instances more so, such words 
have gradually become obsolete, and are now confined to the poetical 
dialect^ so that the use of them in prose compositions would sound 
affected and pedantic. This is the real and only reason why Sanskrit 
derivatives are so generally used in Tamil religious compositions. 

In the other Dravidian languages, whatever be the nature of the 
composition or subject-matter treated of, the amount of Sanskrit 
employed is considerably larger than in Tamil ; and the use of it has 
acquired more of the character of a necessity. This is in consequence 
of the literature of those languages having chiefly been cultivated by 
Brahmans. Even in Telugu the principal grammatical writers and the 
most celebrated poets have been Brahmans. There is only one work 
of note in that language which was not composed by a member of the 
sacred caste ; and indeed the Telugu S'udras, who constitute par excel- 
lence the Telugu people, seem almost entirely to have abandoned to 
the Brahmans the culture of their own language, with every other 
branch of literature and science. ^ In Tamil, on the contrary, few 
Brahmans have written anything worthy of preservation. The lan- 
guage has been cultivated and developed with immense zeal and 
success by native Tamilians j and the highest rank in Tamil literature 
which has been reached by a Brahman is that of a commentator. The 
commentary of Parimelaragar on the Kural of Tiruvalluvar (supposed 
to have been a Pariar (Pareiya, see Appendix), yet the acknowledged 
and deified prince of Tamil authors) is the most classical production 
written in Tamil by a Brahman. | 

Professor Wilson observes that the spoken languages of the South 
were cultivated in imitation of Sanskrit, and but partially aspired to 
an independent literature ; that the principal compositions in Tamil, 


Telugu, Canarese, and Malaylllam, are translations or paraphrases from 
Sanskrit works, and that they largely borrow the phraseology of their 
originals. This representation is not perfectly correct, in so far as 
Tamil is concerned ; for the compositions that are universally admitted 
to be the finest in the language, viz., the Kural and the Chintamani, 
are perfectly independent of Sanskrit, and original in design as well as 
in execution ; and though it is true that Tamil writers have imitated — 
I cannot say translated — the R^m^ana, the MahS,-bh^rata, and similar 
works, they boast that the Tamil Rllm^yana of their own Kambar is 
greatly superior to the Sanskrit original of V^Imiki. 

(5.) Of all evidences of identity or diversity of languages the most 
conclusive are those which are furnished by a comparison of their 
grammatical structure ; and by such a comparison the independence of 
the Dravidian languages of Sanskrit will satisfactorily and conclu- 
sively be established. By the same comparison (at the risk of antici- 
pating a question which will be discussed more fully in the body of 
the work), the propriety of placing these languages, if not in the 
Scythian group, yet in a position nearer that group than the Indo- 
European, will be indicated. 

The most prominent and essential differences in point of grammati- 
cal structure between the Dravidian languages and Sanskrit, are as 
follows : — 

(i.) In the Dravidian languages all nouns denoting inanimate sub- 
stances and irrational beings are of the neuter gender. The dis- 
tinction of male and female appears only in the pronouns of the third 
person ; in the adjectives (properly appellative nouns) which denote 
rational beings, and are formed by suffixing the pronominal termina- 
tions ; and in the third person of the verb, which, being formed by 
sufiixing the same pronominal terminations, has three forms in the 
singular and two in the plural, to distinguish the several genders, in 
accordance with the pronouns of the third person. In all other cases 
where it is required to mark the distinction of gender, separate words 
signifying ' male ' and * female ' are prefixed ; but, even in such cases, 
though the object denoted be the male or female of an animal, the 
noun which denotes it does not cease to be considered neuter, and 
neuter forms of the pronoun and verb are required to be conjoined with 
it. This rule presents a marked contrast to the rules respecting gender 
which we find in the vivid and highly imaginative Sanskrit, and in 
the other Indo-European languages, but it accords with the usage. of 
the languages of the Scythian group. 

(ii.) Dravidian nouns are inflected, not by means of case-termina- 
tions, but by means of suffixed post-positions and separable particles. 


The only difference between the declension of the plural and that of 
the singular, is that the inflexional signs are annexed in the singular 
to the base, in the plural to the sign of plurality, exactly as in the 
Scythian languages. After the pluralising particle has been added to 
the base, all nouns, irrespective of number and gender, are declined 
in the same manner as in the singular. 

(iii). Dravidian neuter nouns are rarely pluralised ; neuter plurals 
are still more rare in the inflexions of the verb. 

(iv.) The Dravidian dative hi, ki, or ge, bears no analogy to any 
dative case-termination which is found in Sanskrit or in any of the 
Indo-European languages; but it corresponds to the dative of the 
Oriental Turkish, to that of the language of the Scythian tablets of 
Behistun, and to that of several of the languages of the Finnish family. 

(v.) In those connections in which prepositions are used in the Indo- 
European languages, the Dravidian languages, with those of the 
Scythian group, use post-positions instead, — which post-positions do 
not constitute a separate part of speech, but are simply nouns of 
relation or quality, adopted as auxiliaries. All adverbs are either 
nouns or the gerunds or infinitives of verbs, and invariably precede 
the verbs they qualify. 

(vi.) In Sanskrit and the Indo-European tongues, adjectives are 
declined like substantives, and agree with the substantives to which 
they are conjoined in gender, number, and case. In the Dravidian 
languages, as in the Scythian, adjectives are incapable of declension. 
When used separately as abstract nouns of quality, which is the 
original and natural character of Dravidian adjectives, they are subject 
to all the affections of substantives; but when they are used adjec- 
tivally — i.e., to qualify other substantives — they do not admit any 
inflexional change, but are simply prefixed to the nouns which they 

(vii.) It is also a characteristic of these languages, as of the Mon- 
golian, the Manchu, and several other Scythian languages, in contra- 
distinction to the languages of the Indo-European family, that, wher- 
ever it is practicable, they use as adjectives the relative participles 
of verbs, in preference to nouns of quality, or adjectives properly so 
called ; and that in consequence of this tendency, when nouns of 
quality are used, the formative termination of the relative participle 
is generally suffixed to them, through which suffix they partake of the 
character both of nouns and of verbs. 

(viii.) The existence of two pronouns of the first jJerson plural, one 
of which includes, the other excludes, the party addressed, is a peculi- 
arity of the Dravidian dialects, as of many of the Scythian languages ; 


but is unknown to Sanskrit and the languages of the Indo-European 
family. The only thing at all resembling it in these languages is their 
use of the dual. 

(ix.) The Dravidian languages have no passive voice. The passive 
is expressed by auxiliary verbs signifying * to suffer,' &c. 

(x.) The Dravidian languages like the Scythian, but unlike the 
Indo-European, prefer the use of continuative participles to conjunc- 

(xi.) The existence of a negative as well as an affirmative voice in 
the verbal system of these languages, constitutes another essential point 
of difference between them and Sanskrit : it equally constitutes a point 
of agreement between them and the Scythian tongues. 

(xii.) It is a marked peculiarity of these languages, as of the Mon- 
golian and the Manchu, and in a modified degree of many other 
Scythian languages, that they make use of relative particijDles instead 
of relative pronouns. There is no trace of the existence of a relative 
pronoun in any Dravidian language except the Gond alone, which 
seems to have lost its relative participle, and uses instead the relative 
pronoun of the Hindi. The place of such pronouns is supplied in the 
Dravidian languages, as in the Scythian tongues mentioned above, by 
relative participles, which are formed from the present, preterite, and 
future participles of the verb by the addition of a formative suffix ; 
which suffix is in general identical with the sign of the possessive 
case. Thus, ' the person who came,' is in Tamil vand-a dl, literally 
' the who-came person ; ' vand-ii^ the preterite verhal participle signi- 
fying ' having come,' being converted into a relative participle, equi- 
valent to * the-who-came/ by the addition of the old possessive and 
adjectival suffix a. 

(xiii.) The situation of the governing word is characteristic of each 
of these families of languages. In the Indo-European family it usually 
precedes the word governed : in the Dravidian and in all the Scythian 
languages, it is invariably placed after it ; in consequence of which the 
nominative always occupies the first place in the sentence, and the one 
finite verb the last. The adjective precedes the substantive : the 
adverb precedes the verb : the substantive which is governed by a verb, 
together with every word that depends upon it or qualifies it, precedes 
the verb by which it is governed : the relative participle precedes the 
noun on which it depends : the negative branch of a sentence precedes 
the affirmative : the noun in the genitive case precedes that which 
governs it : the ^re-position changes places with the noun and becomes 
a joos^position in virtue of its governing a case : and finally the sentence 
is concluded by the one, all-governing, finite verb. In each of these 


important and highly characteristic peculiarities of syntax, the Dra- 
vidian languages and the Scythian are thoroughly agreed.* 

Many other diflferences in grammatical structure, and many differ- 
ences also in regard to the system of sounds, will be pointed out here- 
after, in the course of the analysis ; but in the important particulars 
which are mentioned above, the Dravidian languages evidently differ 
so considerably from the languages of the Indo-European family, and 
in particular from Sanskrit (notwithstanding the predominance for so 
many ages of the social and religious influence of the Sanskrit-speaking 
race), that it can scarcely be doubted that they belong to a totally 
diflferent family of tongues. They are neither derived from Sanskrit, 
nor are capable of being affiliated to it : and it cannot have escaped 
the notice of the student, that in every one of those particulars in 
which the grammatical structure of the Dravidian languages differs 
from Sanskrit, it agrees with the structure of the Scythian languages, 
or the languages of Central and Northern Asia. 

In some particulars — as might be expected from the contact into 
which the Sanskrit-speaking race was brought with the aboriginal races 
of India — Sanskrit appears to differ less widely than the other Indo- 
European tongues from the languages of the Scythian group. One of 
these particulars — the appearance in Sanskrit of consonants of the 
cerebral series — will be discussed further on in connection with the 
Dravidian system of sounds. Mr Edkins, in his " China's Place in 
Philology," has opened up a new line of inquiry in regard to the exist- 
ence of Turanian influences in the grammatical structure of Sanskrit. 
He regards the inflexion of nouns by means of case-endings alone, 
without prepositions in addition, as the adoption by Sanskrit of a 

* The only exceptious to the rule respecting the position of the governing word 
in the Dravidian languages are found in poetical compositions, in which, occasion- 
ally, for the sake of effect, the order of words required by rule is transposed, 

I cannot forbear quoting here a sentence from " Aston's Gramnaar of the 
Japanese Written Languages " (London, 1872), a language which claims relation- 
ship not to the Chinese, but to the Scythian, or, as they are called in that work, 
the Altaic, family of tongues. It might have been supposed that the writer in- 
tended to describe the structure of the Dravidian languages. " As is the case in 
all languages of the Altaic family, every word in Japanese which serves to define 
another word invariably precedes it. Thus the adjective precedes the noun, the 
adverb the verb, the genitive the word which governs it, the objective case the 
verb, and the word governed by a preposition the preposition. The nominative 
case stands at the beginning of a sentence, and the verb at the end. 

" Nouns have, properly speaking, no declension. Number and case are rarely 
expressed ; but when 'they are, they are indicated by means of certain particles 
placed after the words which themselves suffer no change. Instead of a passive 
voice, verbs have derivative va»bs with a conjugation resembling that of active 
verbs. Mood and tense are indicated by sufiSxes," 


Turanian rule. He tbinks also the position of the words in a Sanskrit 
prose sentence is Turanian rather than Aryan. It is an invariable law 
of the distinctively Turanian tongues that related sentences precede 
those to which they are related. It is another invariable law that the 
finite verb is placed at the end of the sentence. In both these parti- 
culars Mr Edkins thinks that Sanskrit has yielded to Turanian influ- 
ences. This certainly seems to be the case with regard to the verna- 
culars which have been developed out of the old colloquial Sanskrit ; 
but in so far as the Sanskrit of literature is concerned, the Turanian 
rule is far from being universally followed. Mr Edkins himself gives 
an illustration from a Sanskrit prose story (p. 315), which shows that 
a relative clause sometimes succeeds, instead of preceding, the indica- 
tive clause, and that the position of the finite verb is not always at the 
end of the sentence. Perhaps all that can be said with certainty is 
that in Sanskrit prose and in prosaic verse related sentences generally 
precede, and the finite verb generally comes last. Up to this point, 
therefore, it may perhaps fairly be held that Turanian influences have 
made themselves felt even in Sanskrit. We are safer, however, in ■<* 
dealing with facts than with causes ; for on this theory it might be 
necessary to hold that Latin syntax is more ' Turanian' than Greek, and 
German more * Turanian ' than English. 


OP Noetheen India 1 

The hypothesis of the direct derivation of the Dravidian tongues 
from Sanskrit, with the admixture of a proportion of words and forms 
from an unknown source, having been found untenable, some Oriental 
scholars adopted an opposite hypothesis, and attributed to the influence 
of the Dravidian languages that corruption of Sanskrit out of which 
the vernaculars of Northern India have arisen. It was supposed by 
the Rev. Dr Stevenson, of Bombay,''" Mr Hodgson, of Nepal,t and 
some other Orientalists, (1) that the North-Indian vernaculars had 
been derived from Sanskrit, not so much by the natural process of cor- 
ruption and disintegration, as through the overmastering, remoulding 
power of the non-Sanskritic element contained in them ; and (2) that 
this non-Sanskritic element was identical with the Dravidian speech, 
which they supposed to have been the speech of the ancient Nishadas, 
and other aborigines of India. 

* Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bomhay. 

+ Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal j also "Aborigines of India," Cal- 
cutta, 1849. 


The first part of this hypothesis appears to rest upon a better founda- 
tion than the second ; but even the first part appears to me to be too 
strongly expressed, and to require considerable modification ; for in 
some important particulars the corruption of Sanskrit into Hindi, 
Bengali, (fee, has been shown to have arisen from that natural process 
of change which we see exemplified in Europe, in the corruption of 
Latin into Italian and Spanish. Nevertheless, on comparing the gram- 
matical structure and essential character of Sanskrit with those of the 
vernaculars of Northern India, I feel persuaded — though here I am off 
my own ground, and must express myself with diffidence — that the 
direction in which those vernaculars have been differentiated from 
Sanskrit has to a considerable extent been non-Aryan, and that this 
must have been owing, in what way soever it may have been brought 
about, to the operation of non-Aryan influences. 

The modifications which the grammar of the North Indian languages 
have received, being generally of one and the same character, and in 
one and the same direction, it may be concluded that there must have 
been a common modifying cause ; and as the non-Sanskritic portion of 
those languages, which Professor Wilson styles " a portion of a primi- 
tive, unpolished, and scanty speech, the relics of a period prior to 
civilisation," has been calculated to amount to one-tenth of the whole, 
and in Mar^thl to a fifth, it seems reasonable to infer that it was, in 
part at least, from that extraneous element that the modifying influ- 
ences proceeded. 

It is admitted that before the arrival of the Aryans, or Sanskrit- 
speaking colony of Brahmans, Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas, the greater 
part of Northern India was peopled by rude aboriginal tribes, called 
by Sanskrit writers Dasyus, Nish^das, Mlechchas, &c. ; and it is the 
received opinion that those aboriginal tribes were of Scythian, or at 
least of non-Aryan, origin. On the irruption of the Aryans, it would 
naturally happen that the copious and expressive Sanskrit of the con- 
quering race would almost overwhelm the vocabulary of the rude 
Scythian tongues spoken by the aboriginal tribes. Nevertheless, as 
the grammatical structure of the Scythian tongues possesses peculiar 
stability and persistency, and as the prse-Aryan tribes, who were pro- 
bably more numerous than the Aryans, were not annihilated, but only 
reduced to a dependent position, and eventually, in most instances, 
incorporated in the Aryan community, it would seem almost neces- 
sarily to follow that they would modify, whilst they adopted, the 
language of their conquerors, and that this modification would consist, 
partly in the addition of ne\\^ words, and partly also in the introduction 
of a new spirit and tendency. 


Tliis hypothesis seems to have the merit of according better than 
any other with existing phenomena. Seeing that the northern verna- 
culars possess, with the words of the Sanskrit, a grammatical structure 
which in the main appears to be Scythian, it seems more correct to 
represent those languages as having a Scythian basis, with a large and 

I almost overwhelming Sanskrit addition, than as having a Sanskrit basis, 
with a small admixture of a Scythian element. The existence of a 
* Tartarean or Chaldee,' that is, of a Scythian, element in the colloquial 
dialects of Northern India was first asserted by Sir W. Jones (" Asiatic 
Researches," vol. i.), and till of late has been generally admitted. It 
has recently been called in question in the Indian Antiquary (April 
1872), in a paper by Mr Growse, B.C.S. His observations are confined 
to Hindi, and deal, not with its grammatical principles, but with the 
vocabulary only ; but they prove the necessity of more extended research 
before the existence of any considerable amount of non-Sanskritic ele- 
ments in that dialect can be regarded as certain. 

The second part of the hypothesis of Dr Stevenson, viz., the identity 
of the non-Sanskritic element contained in those languages — supposing 
the existence of such an element established — with the languages of 
the Dravidian family, rests on a different foundation, and appears to 
me to be less defensible. According to the supposition in question, 
the Scythian or Dravidian element is substantially one and the same 
in all the vernacular languages of India, whether northern or southern, 
but is smallest in amount in those districts of Northern India which 
were first conquered by the Aryans ; greater in the remoter districts 
of the Dekhan, Telingana, and Mysore ; and greatest of all in the 
Tamil country, at the southern extremity of the peninsula, to which 
the aggressions of the Brahmanical race had scarcely extended in the 
age of Manu and the Kamayana. 

This hypothesis certainly appears at first sight to accord with the 
current of events in the ancient history of India; but whatever 
relationship, in point of blood and race, may originally have subsisted 
between the northern aborigines and the southern, — whatever ethno- 
logical evidences of their identity may be supposed to exist, — when we 
view the question philologically, and with reference to the evidence 
furnished by their languages alone, the hypothesis of their identity 
does not appear to me to have been established. It may be true that 
various analogies in point of grammatical structure appear to connect 
the non-Sanskritic element contained in the North-Indian idioms with 
the Scythian tongues. This connection, however (if it really exists), 
amounts only to a general relationship to the entire group of Scythian 
languages ; and scarcely any special relationship to the Drayidian Ian- 


guagcs, in contra- distinction to those of the Turkish, the Finnish, or 
any other Scythian family, has yet been shown to exist. Indeed I 
conceive that the non-Aryan substratum of the North-Indian idioms 
presents as large a number of points of agreement with the Oriental 
Turkish, or with that Scythian tongue or family of tongues by which 
the New Persian has been modified, as with any of the Dravidian 

The principal particulars in which the grammar of the North-Indian 
idioms accords with that of the Dravidian languages are as follows : — 
(1), the inflexion of nouns by means of separate j)ost-fixed particles 
added to the oblique form of the noun ; (2), the inflexion of the plural 
by annexing to the unvarying sign of plurality the same suffixes of 
case as those by which the singular is inflected ; (3), the use in several 
of the northern idioms of two pronouns of the first person plural, the 
one including, the other excluding, the party addressed ; (4), the use 
of post-positions, instead of prepositions ; (5), the formation of verbal 
tenses by means of participles ; (6), the situation of the relative sentence 
before the indicative ; (7), the situation of the governing word after the 
word governed. In the particulars above-mentioned, the grammar of 
the North-Indian idioms undoubtedly resembles that of the Dravidian 
family : but the argument founded upon this general agreement is to 
a considerable extent neutralised by the circumstance that those idioms 
accord in the same particulars, and to the same extent, with several 
other families of the Scythian group. None of those particulars in 
which the Dravidian languages diff'er from the Turkish or the Mon- 
golian (and there are many such points of difference) has as yet been 
discovered, so far as I am aware, in the North-Indian idioms. For 
instance, those idioms contain no trace of the relative participle which 
is used in all the Dravidian tongues, except the Gond, instead of a 
relative pronoun ; they are destitute of the regularly inflected negative 
verb of the Dravidian languages; and they contain not one of the 
Dravidian pronouns or numerals — not even those which we find in 
the Medo-Scythic tablets of Behistun, and which still survive even 
in the languages of the Ostiaks, the Chinese, and the Lapps. If the 
non-Sanskritic element contained in the northern vernaculars had been 
Dravidian, we might also expect to find in their vocabularies a few 
primary Dravidian roots — such as the w^ords for ' head,' ' foot,' ' eye,' 
' ear,' &c. ; but I have not been able to discover any reliable analogy 
in words belonging to this class. The only resemblances which have 
been pointed out are those which Dr Stevenson traced in a few words 
remote from ordinary use, an^ on which, in the absence of analogy in • 
primary roots, and especially in grammatical structure, it is impossible 



to place any dependence.'^ The wideness of the difference between the 
Dravidian vocabulary and that of the languages of Northern India 
with respect to primary roots, together with the essential agreement 
of all the Dravidian vocabularies one with another, will appear from 
the following comparative view of the pronouns of the first and second 
persons singular. It sometimes happens that where one form of the 
pronoun is used in the nominative, another survives in the oblique 
cases, and a third in the verbal inflexions ; it also sometimes happens 
that the ancient form of the pronoun differs from the modern. Where 
such is the case I have given all extant forms a place in the list, for 
the purpose of facilitating comparison. 

Peoj^oun of the First Person Singular. 

Gaurian Idioms. 
(Sanskrit primary form, aliam _ 
secondary forms, ma^ mi, m 
Turkish primary form, man.. ) 

Dravidian Idioms. 
Tamil, wan, ydn, 4n, en. 

Canarese, dn, ydn, nd, ndnu, en, Sne. 
Tulu, ydn, yen, e. 

MalayS,]am, ndn, in, en, ena, eni, ini. 




nenu, nS, inn, i, nd, nu, ni. 




dn, en, eni, ini. 




dne, en, e. 




annd, nd, dn, na. 






dnu, nd, in, e. 





THE Second Person Singular. 

Gaurian Idioms. 

Dravidian Idioms. 

(Sanskrit primary forms. 

, tvam, 


nt, nin, nun, ei, i, dy, 6y. 

tav, te : secondary form, 

si, s; 


nin, ninu, nt, nin, (ly, e, tyc. 

Turkish primary form. 





i, nin, ni. 


tu, tun, 



, nt, nin. 


tAi, to. 


nivu, ivu, nt, nin, vu, vi. 


tUn, tu, 



nt, nin, i. 


tUn, ta. 


nt, nin, i. 


tun, to. 





imma, ni, t. 
tnu, nt, i. 
nt, nd. 

Scythic of the Behistun tablets, nt. 

* In many instances Dr Stevenson's lexical analogies are illusory, and dis- 
appear altogether on a little investigation. Thus, he supposes the North Indian 
ped, ' the belly, the womb/ to be allied to the first v^ord in the Tamil compound 
petta pillei, own child. That word should have been written pettra in English, 
to accord with the pronunciation of the Tamil word : the Tamil spelling of it, 



From the striking dissimilarity existing between the Gaurian pro- 
nouns and the Dravidian, it is obvious that, whatever may have been 
the nature and origin of the influences by which the Gaurian languages 
were modified, those influences do not appear to have been distinctively 
Dravidian. In the pronouns of almost all the North-Indian languages 
we may notice the Scythic termination — the obscure n, which forms the 
final of most of the pronouns. We cannot fail also to notice the entire 
disappearance of the nominative of the Sanskrit pronoun of the first per- 
son singular, and the substitution for it of the Turkish-like main or man ; 
but in no connection, in no number or case, in no compound or verbal 
inflexion, do we see any trace of the peculiar personal pronouns of the 
Dravidian family. Possibly further research may disclose the existence 
in the northern vernaculars of distinctively Dravidian forms and roots ; 
but their existence does not appear to me as yet to be proved ; for most 
of Dr Stevenson's analogies take too wide a range, and where they are 
supposed to be distinctively Dravidian they disappear on examination. 
I conclude, therefore, that the non-Sanskritic portion of the northern 
languages cannot safely be''placed in the same category with the southern, 
except perhaps in the sense of both being Scythian rather than Aryan. 

Thus far I had written in the first edition of this work. Since then 
the subject has been much discussed, especially in Muir's " Sanskrit 
Texts," vol. ii., and in Beames's '' Comparative Grammar of the Modern 
Aryan Languages of India." The general result appears to be that it 
remains as certain as ever — it could scarcely become more certain — that 
few, if any, traces of distinctively Dravidian elements are discernible in 
the North-Indian vernaculars. On the one hand, Dr Gundert argues 
strongly — not indeed for the existence of Dravidian elements in those 
vernaculars, as distinguished from their existence in Sanskrit — but for 
the existence of such elements in Sanskrit itself. See his remarks on 
this subject (from the Journal of the German Oriental Society for 1869), 
in the section on Glossarial Afifinities. On the other hand, Mr Growse * 
thus concludes a discussion of the question of the existence of traces 
of a non- Aryan element in the northern vernaculars — " The foregoing 
considerations demonstrate the soundness of the proposition laid down 
in the outset, viz., that the proportion of words in the Hindi vocabu- 

however, is perra. It is the preterite relative participle of per-u, ' to obtain, ' 
signifying 'that was obtained.' Per-u, 'to obtain/ has no connection with any 
word which signifies * the womb,' and its derivative noun per-u, means ' a thing 
obtained, a birth, a favour.' The relationships of this root will be inquired into 
in the Glossarial Affinities, 

* In an article " On the Na«-Aryan Element in Hindi Speech," by F. S. 
Growse, Esq., M.A., B.C.S., in the Indian Antiquary for April 1872. 


lary not connected with Sanskrit forms is exceedingly inconsiderable ; 
such fact appearing — first, from the silence of the early grammarians 
as to the existence of any such non-Sanskritic element ; secondly, from 
the discovery that many of the words hastily set down as barbarous 
are in reality traceable to a classic source ; and, thirdly, from the 
unconscious adherence of the modern vernacular to the same laws of 
formation as influenced it in an admittedly Sanskritic stage of deve- 

The following more extended remarks in confirmation of the same 
view of the subject are from Mr Beames's " Comparative Grammar " 
(Introduction, pp. 9-10,* § 3): — ''Next comes the class of words 
described as neither Sainskritic nor Aryan, but x. It is known that on 
entering India the Aryans found that country occupied by races of a 
different family from their own. With these races they waged a long 
and chequered warfare, gradually pushing on after each fresh victory, 
till at the end of many centuries they obtained possession of the greater 
part of the territories they now enjoy. Through these long ages, 
periods of peace alternated with those of war, and the contest between 
the two races may have been as often friendly as hostile. The Aryans 
exercised a powerful influence upon their opponents, and we cannot 
doubt but that they themselves were also, but in a less degree, subject 
to some influence from them. There are consequently to be found even 
in Sanskrit some words which have a very non- Aryan look, and the 
number of such words is much greater still in the modern languages, 
and there exists, therefore, a temptation to attribute to non- Aryan sources 
any words whose origin it is difficult to trace from Aryan beginnings. 

" It may be as well here to point out certain simple and almost 
obvious limitations to the application of the theory that the Aryans 
borrowed from their alien predecessors. Verbal resemblance is, unless 
supported by other arguments, the most unsafe of all grounds on which 
to base an induction in philology. Too many writers, in other respects 
meritorious, seem to proceed on Eluellen's process, ' There is a river in 
Macedon, and there is also moreover a river in Monmouth, and there is 
salmon in both.' A certain Tamil word contains a P, so does a certain 
Sanskrit word, and ergo, the latter is derived from the former ! Now, 
I would urge, that, in the first place, the Aryans were superior morally 
as well as physically to the aborigines, and probably therefore imparted 
to them more than they received from them. Moreover, the Aryans 
were in possession of a copious language before they came into India ; 

* "A Comparative Grammar of the Modern Non-Aryan Languages of India," 
&c., by John Beames, Esq., B.C.S. London, 1872. 


they would therefore not be likely to borrow words of an ordinary, ^tf^^^JT^ 
usual description, such as names for their clothing, weapons, and uten- . / . ■ 
sils, or for their cattle and tools, or for the parts of their bodies, or for ^^'^'^^^'^'^•^^ 
the various relations in which they stood to each other. The words Z^"***^ /''^'^*^ 
they would be likely to borrow would be names for the new plants,/i^.f2^ ^y> 
animals, and natural objects which they had not seen in their forme rly ^*^^/ ^^ 
abodes, and even this necessity would be reduced by the tendencw^ ' 1 » J 
inherent in all races to invent descriptive names for new objects, K/t%4,/fyCrt^ 
third limitation is afforded by geographical considerations. Which f^^. fklttjn 
were the tribes that the Aryans mixed with, either as friends or foes? f^ ^: 

Could the bulk of them have come into frequent and close contact with \ 

the Dravidians '; and if so, when and how % These are questions which \ 

it is almost impossible to answer in the present state of our knowledge, \ 

but they are too important to be altogether set aside ; and it may be j 

therefore pointed out, merely as a contribution to the subject, that the « 

tribes driven out of the valley of the Ganges by the Aryans were almost . \ 

certainly Kols to the south, and semi-Tibetans to the north. It is fair )) \ 

to look with suspicion on an etymology which takes us from Sanskrit i 

to Tamil, without exhibiting a connecting series of links through the ; 

intervening Kol tribes. If the above limitations are rigidly applied, | 

they will narrow very much the area within which non-Aryan forms \ 

are possible in Sanskrit and its descendants, and will force us to have i 

recourse to a far more extensive and careful research within the domain 
of Sanskrit itself than has hitherto been made, with a view to finding i 

in that language the origin of modern words." j 

I coincide generally in the above remarks, especially in so far as they I 

bear on the question of the influence of the Dravidian languages, pro- \ 

perly so called, on the North-Indian or Aryan vernaculars. That -j 

influence, as I have always held, must have been but slight. It is a \ 

different question whether the influences by which the Aryan verna- \ 

culars have been moulded into their present shape may not have been \ 

in some degree Scythian or at least non-Aryan, Dravidian, Scythian, \ 

and non- Aryan are not convertible terms. Mr Beames himself says, in j 

his chapter on " Vowel Changes," p. 128, " I am not in a position to \ 

point out how far, or in what direction, Aryan vocalism has been influ- ^ 

enced by these alien races (on the northern and eastern frontier, in \ 

Central India, and on the south) ; but that some sort of influence has \ 

been at work is almost beyond a doubt." In treating of ' the break- ] 

ing down of a and d into e' in the northern vernaculars, he says, 1 

" this seems to be one of those points where non-Aryan influences have \ 

been at work." — (P. 140.) Jn treating also of the cerebral I, he says, 1 

" This curious heavy I is very widely employed in the Dravidian group | 


of languages, where it interchanges freely with r and d, and it is also 
found in the Kole family in Central India. The Marathas and Oriyas 
are perhaps of all the Aryan tribes those which have been for the 
longest time in contact with Koles and Drayidians, and it is not sur- 
prising, therefore, to find the cerebral I more freely used by them than 
by others."— P. 245. 

Dr Ernest Trumpp, in his " Grammar of the Sindhi Language," 
maintains that the northern vernaculars exhibit decided traces of non- 
Aryan influences. He thinks we shall be able '' to trace out a certain 
residuum of vocables, which we must allot to an old aboriginal lan- 
guage, of which neither name nor extent is now known to us, but which 
in all probability was of the T^tar stock of languages, and spread 
throughout the length and breadth of India before the irruption of the 
Aryan race." In confirmation of this view he adduces the preference 
of cerebral consonants to dentals. " Nearly three-fourths," he thinks, 
*' of the Sindhi words which commence with a cerebral are taken from 
some aboriginal non-Aryan idiom which in recent times has been 
termed Scythian, but which he would prefer to call Tat^r." "And 
this," he proceeds to say, " seems to be very strong proof that the cere- 
brals have been borrowed from some idiom anterior to the introduction 
of the Aryan languages." In noticing the aversion of the Prakrit to 
aspirates, he remarks that " this aversion seems to point to a Ti,tar 
underground current in the mouth of the common people, the Dravi- 
dian languages of the south being destitute of aspirates." He attri- 
butes also to Dravidian influences the pronunciation of ch and j in 
certain connections as ts and dz, by Mar&thi as by Telugu. 

To WHAT Group of Languages aee the Deavidian Idioms to be 


Prom the commencement of my Tamil studies I felt much interested 
in the problem of the ulterior relationship of the Dravidian family of 
languages ; and before I was aware of the opinion which Professor 
Rask of Copenhagen was the first to express, I arrived by a somewhat 
similar process at a similar conclusion — viz., that the Dravidian lan- 
guages are to be affiliated not so much to the Indo-European as to the 
Scythian group of tongues. I described the conclusion I arrived at as 
similar to Rask's, not the same, because I did not think it safe to place 
the Dravidian idioms unconditionally in the Scythian group, but 
preferred considering them more closely allied to the Scythian than 
to the Indo-European. In using the word ' Scythian,' I use it in the 
wide, general sense in which it was used by Eask, who first employed 


it to designate that group of tongues which comprises the Finnish, the 
Turkish, the Mongolian, and the Tungusian families. All these lan- 
guages are formed on one and the same grammatical system, and in 
accordance with the same general laws. They all express grammatical 
relation by the simple agglutination of auxiliary words or particles ; 
whilst in the Semitic languages gramm^vtical relation is expressed by 
variations in the internal vowels of the roots, and in the Chinese and 
other isolative, monosyllabic languages, by the position of words in the 
sentence alone. The Indo-European languages appear to have been 
equally with the Scythian agglutinative in origin ; but they have come 
to require to be formed into a class by themselves, through their allow- 
ing their agglutinated auxiliary words to sink into the position of mere 
signs of inflexion. The Scythian languages have been termed by some 
the Tatar family of tongues, by others the Finnish, the Altaic, the 
Mongolian, or the Turanian ; but as these terms have often. been appro- 
priated to designate one or two families, to the exclusion of the rest, 
they seem too narrow to be safely employed as common designations 
of the entire group. The term ' Scythian' having already been used 
by the classical writers in a vague, undefined sense, to denote generally 
the barbarous tribes of unknown origin that inhabited the northern 
parts of Asia and Europe, it seemed to me to be the most appropriate 
and convenient word which was available. 

Professor Eask, who was the first to suggest that the Dravidian lan- 
guages were probably Scythian, did little more than suggest this 
relationship. The evidence of it was left both by him and by the 
majority of succeeding writers in a very defective state. General 
statements of the Scythian relationship of the Dravidian languages, 
with a few grammatical illustrations, occupy a place in Prichard's 
" Researches," and have been repeated in several more recent works. 
Prichard himself wished to see the problem, not merely stated, but 
solved ; but I believe it can never be definitely solved without pre- 
viously ascertaining, by a careful intercomparison of dialects, what 
were the most ancient grammatical forms and the most essential char- 
acteristics of the Dravidian languages and of the various families of 
languages included in the Scythian group respectively. It was not till 
after I had commenced to carry the first edition of this work through 
the press that I became acquainted with Professor Max MUller's 
treatise " On the Present State of our Knowledge of the Turanian 
Languages," included in Bunsen's " Outlines of the Philosophy of 
Universal History." Notwithstanding the great excellence of that 
treatise, I did not find my o^wi work forestalled by the Professor's. 
His was a general survey of the whole field. It was my object to 



endeavour to cultivate more thoroughly one portion of the field, or at 
least to prepare it for thorough cultivation. Whilst the principal 
features of the Dravidian tongues are strongly marked, and whilst their 
grammatical principles and syntactic arrangement are of too peculiar a 
nature to be easily mistaken, there is much in the phonic system of 
these languages, in their dialectic interchanges and displacements, and 
in their declensional and conjugational forms, which cannot be under- 
stood without special study. 

In the course of the grammatical analysis and comparison of the 
Dravidian languages on which we are about to enter, I hope to 
help forward the solution of the problem of their ulterior relation- 
ship. It is a problem which has often up to a certain point been 
ingeniously elucidated, but which has never yet been thoroughly 
investigated. I am very far from regarding anything contained in 
the following work as a thorough investigation of this problem. The 
chief object I have in view is to contribute to a better knowledge 
of the Dravidian languages themselves. However interesting the 
question of affiliation may be, I regard that question as quite sub-'' 
sidiary to the object of the work in hand. Besides, I believe it will 
be found necessary for the satisfactory solution of the question, that 
the intercomparison of the various languages and families of languages 
of which the Scythian group is composed, should be carried much further 
than it has been carried as yet. An excellent beginning has been made 
in Boiler's treatises : " Die Finnischen Sprachen " and " Die Conjuga- 
tion in den Finnischen Sprachen," Schott's treatise " Uber das Finnish- 
Tatarische Sprachengeschlecht," and Gastrin's " De Affixis Personalibus 
Linguarum Altaicarum ; " in addition to which we have now Professor 
Hunfalvy's paper " On the Study of the Turanian Languages," in which 
lie carefully compares the Hungarian, Vogul, Ostiak, and Finnish, and 
proves that the vocabularies of those four languages are of a common 
origin, and that their grammars are closely related. Till, however, the 
comparative study of the whole of these languages has been carried 
still further, one term of the comparison will always be liable to be 
misapprehended. My knowledge of the Scythian languages is only at 
second hand, and I am fully conscious of the truth of Bohtlingk's 
dictum, that " It is dangerous to write on languages of which we do 
not possess the most accurate knowledge." I trust, therefore, it will 
be remembered that if I advocate any particular theory on this ques- 
tion of afliliation, I do so with considerable diflBdence. 

Professors Pott and Friedrich MUller, followed by an increasing 
number of philologists, are unwilling to admit that the various lan- 
guages of the so-called Scythian or Turanian class or group have had 


a common origin. They admit them to be morphologically or physiolo- 
gically related, but do not concede to them any genealogical relationship. 
Dr Black also {Journal of the Anthropological Society, 1871) thinks 
it " not impossible that some or all of the Turanian languages exhibit 
only certain stages of development in one particular direction, taken 
either by members of different families, or by different branches of the 
same family." On the whole, however, the resemblances apparent 
amongst these languages, both in structure and vocabulary, as pointed 
out by Gastrin and the other writers referred to, seem to me too 
numerous and essential to admit of any other conclusion than that of 
their original oneness. " These languages," appear to me, to use Pro- 
fessor Max Mtiller's words, to " share elements in common which they 
must have borrowed from the same source, and their formal coincid- 
ences, though of a different character from those of the Aryan and 
Semitic families, are such that it would be impossible to ascribe them 
to mere accident "(" Lecture I," 301). "The only coincidences we 
are likely to find," he says, " in agglutinative languages long separated, 
are such as refer to ^ the radical materials of language, or to those parts 
of speech which it is most difficult to reproduce — pronouns, numerals, 
and prepositions. It is astonishing rather that any words of a conven- 
tional meaning should have been discovered as the common property 
of the Turanian languages than that most of their words and forms 
should be peculiar to each.' " 

The various particulars which I adduced in the preceding section 
to prove that the Dravidian languages are essentially different from, 
and independent of, Sanskrit (each of which will be considered 
more fully under its own appropriate head) may also be regarded as 
contributing to show, both that the various languages of the 
Scythian group have sprung from a common origin, and also that 
the Dravidian languages — if not actually to be included in the 
Scythian group — stand to that group in some sort of relationship. 
In some important particulars the Dravidian languages have un- 
doubtedly approximated to the Indo-European, especially in this, 
that instead of continuing to be purely agglutinative they have become 
partly inflexional. Several of the words of relation used as auxiliaries 
in declension and conjugation have ceased to be capable of being used 
as independent words. Still, it would be unnecessary on this account 
alone to disconnect these languages wholly from the Scythian group, 
for those auxiliary words, though they have now in some instances 
^^ shrunk into the condition of fossilised relics, are always separable from 
KL the roots to which they are Upended. They have never so far co- 
nvalesced with the roots — as such words have generally done in the 



Indo-European languages — as to form with tlie roots only one integral 
word, in which it is almost impossible to determine which is the root 
and which is the modificatory element. It is also to be remembered 
that the Turkish, Finnish, Hungarian, and Japanese languages, though 
in many particulars distinctively Turanian, have become still more in- 
flexional than the Dravidian. Mr Edkins, in his '' China's Place in 
Philology," has warmly supported both the positions I have advocated — 
viz., the original unity of all the Scythian languages and the affiliation 
of the Dravidian languages on the whole to the Scythian group. A 
considerable number of the minute coincidences on which he relies will 
probably disappear on further investigation ; but the more this branch 
of philology is studied the more I think it will be evident that the 
main lines of his argument — especially with regard to the resemblances 
between the Dravidian languages and the Mongolian — are correct. I 
cannot say that I think the resemblances of the Dravidian languages 
to the Chinese very numerous. Mr Edkins holds the original unity, 
not only of the Scythian languages, but of all the languages of Europe 
and Asia, and argues that " what are called families of languages are 
only dialects of an earlier speech." This general principle seems to me 
to be in accordance, on the whole, with such facts as are known to us 
respecting the history of human speech, but it will probably be 
a considerable time before it is scientifically established. I may 
add that, to my own mind, the light which is thrown on the 
structure of the Dravidian languages by the study of the languages of 
the Scythian group has always seemed a strong confirmation of the 
theory of the existence in them of a Scythian element. The relative 
participle is one of the most distinguishing features of the Dravidian 
verb ; but I never clearly understood the principle of the formation of 
that participle, till I saw how it was formed in the Mongolian and 
Manchu ; and no person, however reluctant to see a Scythian element 
in the Dravidian languages, has ever, so far as I am aware, objected to 
the explanation of the origin of the relative participle given in the first 
edition of this work, or suggested another. (See " The Eelative Par- 
ticiple," in Part Y., on " The Verb.") 

A remarkable confirmation, on the whole, of the Scythian theory 
has been furnished by the translation of the Behistun tablets. The 
inscriptions discovered at Behistun or Baghistan, in western Media, 
record the political autobiography of Darius Hystaspes in the Old Per- 
sian, in the Babylonian, and also in the language of the Scythians of 
the Medo-Persian empire ; and the translation of the Scythian portion 
of those inscriptions has thrown a new light on the connection of the 
Dravidian languages with the Scythian group. The language of the 


second series of tablets was shown in Mr Norris's paper (in the Journal 
of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. xv.) to be distinctively Scythian. 
Professor Oppert holds that the people by whom this language was 
spoken were Medians, but agrees with Mr Xorris in considering the 
language Scythian — that is, Turanian. We are now enabled, therefore, 
to compare the Dra vidian idioms with a fully developed language of 
the Scythian family, as spoken in the fifth century, B.C. : and whilst 
the language of the tablets has been shown to belong generally to the 
Scythian group, it has been found to bear a special relationship to a 
particular family included in that group — the Ugro-Finnish — a family 
which the Dravidian dialects have long appeared to me to resemble. 
The principal points of resemblance between the Dravidian dialects and 
the language, of the tablets are as follows : — 

(1.) The language of the tablets appears to accord with the Dravi- 
dian tongues in the use of consonants of the cerebral class, t, d, and n. 
These sounds exist also in Sanskrit, but I have long suspected that 
Sanskrit borrowed them from the indigenous Dravidian languages {yide 
the section on " Sounds ") ; and I find that Mr Norris has expressed 
the same opinion. 

(2.) The language of the tablets agrees with Tamil in regarding the 
same consonant as a surd in the beginning of a word, and as a sonant 
in the middle, and in pronouncing the same consonant as a sonant when 
single, and as a surd when doubled. (See in the section on " Sounds " 
illustrations of the Tamil rule.) 

(3.) The genitive case of the language of the tablets is formed by 
suffixing the syllables na, nina, or inna. The analogous forms of the 
Dravidian languages are ni in the Telugu, na or a in Gond or Brahui, 
and in in Tamil. 

(4.) The dative of the tablets is ikJci or ikka. There are analogies 
to this both in the Tatar-Turkish and in the Ugrian families ; but the 
form which is most perfectly in accordance with it is that of the Dra- 
vidian dative suffix Icu, hi, ha, &c., preceded as the suffix generally is 
in Tamil and Malay^lam, by an euphonic u or i, and a consequent 
doubling of the h. Compare nin-ihha, to thee, in the language of the 
tablets, with the corresponding nin-a-ge, in Canarese, and especially 
the Malayalam nin-a-hhu. 

(5.) The pronouns of the language of the tablets form their accusa- 
tive by suffixing un, in,. or n. Compare the Telugu accusative inflexion 
nu or ni, and the Canarese am, ami-u, &c. 

(6.) The only numeral written in letters in the Scythian tablets is 
hir, one, with which appears to be connected the numeral adjective, or 
indefinite article, ra, or irra. In Telugu, ' one ' is oha, and in Tamil 


or. The Ku numeral adjective ' one ' is ra, corresponding to the Tamil 
oru, but more closely to the ra or irra of the tablets. 

In the language of the tablets all ordinal numbers end in im, in 
Tamil in dm, in Samoiede in im. 

(7.) The pronoun of the second person is exactly the same in the 
language of the inscriptions as in the Dravidian languages. In all it is 
ni; the oblique form, which is also the accusative, is nin. Unfortu- 
nately the plural of this pronoun is not contained in the tablets — the 
singular having been used instead of the plural in addressing inferiors. 

(8.) The language of the tablets, like the Dravidian languages, 
makes usfe of a relative participle. A relative pronoun is used in addi- 
tion to the relative participle ; but Mr Norris supposes the use of this 
pronoun to be owing to the imitation of the Persian original. The 
particular particle which is used in the tablets in forming the relative 
participle differs from that which is geiierally used in the Dravidian 
languages ; but the position and force of this particle, and the manner 
in which the participle formed by it is employed, are in perfect har- 
mony with Dravidian usage. Perhaps the use of this relative participle.^ 
is the most remarkable and distinctive characteristic of the grammar of 
every unaltered dialect of the Scythian family. 

(9.) The negative imperative, or prohibitive, particle of the tablets is 
inni, in Gond minni. 

The conjugational system of the language of the tablets accords with 
that of the Hungarian, the Mordvin, and other languages of the Ugrian 
family, but differs considerably from the Dravidian languages, which 
form their tenses in a simpler manner, by the addition of particles of 
time to the root, and which form the persons of their verbs by the 
addition of the ordinary pronominal terminations to the particles of 
time. Notwithstanding this discrepancy in the inflexions of the verbs, 
the resemblances shown to subsist between the language of the tablets 
and the Dravidian idioms, most of which are in particulars of primary 
importance, seem to establish tHe existence of a radical, though very 
remote, connection. From the discovery of these analogies, we are led 
to conclude that the Dravidian race, though resident in India from a 
period long prior to the commencement of history, originated in the 
central tracts of Asia — the seed-plot of nations j and that from thence, 
after parting company with the Aryans and the Ugro-Turanians, and 
leaving a colony in BeMchist^n, they entered India by way of the 

Whilst I regard the grammatical structure and prevailing character- 
istics of the Dravidian idioms as in the main Scythian, I claim for them 
also, and have always claimed, as will be seen further on, the possession 


of certain remarkable affinities to the Indo-European family. In so far 
as they may be regarded as Scythian, they are allied not to the Turkish 
family, or to the Ugrian, or to the Mongolian, or to the Tungusian (each 
of which families differs materially from the others, notwithstanding 
generic points of resemblance), but to the group or class in which all 
these families are comprised. The Scythian family to which, on the 
whole, the Dravidian languages may be regarded as most nearly allied, 
is the Finnish or Ugrian, with some special affinities, as it appears, to 
the Ostiak branch of that family ; and this supposition, which I had 
been led to entertain from the comparison of grammars and vocabu- 
laries alone, derives some confirmation from the fact brought to light 
by the Behistun tablets, that the ancient Scythic race, by which the 
greater part of Central Asia was peopled prior to the irruption of the 
Medo-Persians, belonged not to the Turkish, or to the Mongolian, but 
to the Ugrian stock. If we can venture to take for granted, at pre- 
sent, the conclusiveness of the evidence on which this hypothesis rests, 
the result at which we arrive is one of the most remarkable that the 
study of comparative philology has yet realised. How remarkable that 
distinct affinities to the speech of the Dravidians of inter-tropical India 
should be discoverable in the language of the Finns of Northern 
Europe, and of the Ostiaks and other Ugrians of Siberia ; and, conse- 
quently, that the prae- Aryan inhabitants of the Dekhan should appear, 
from the evidence furnished by their language alone, in the silence of 
history, in the absence of all ordinary probabilities, to be allied to the 
tribes that appear to have overspread Europe before the arrival of the 
Teutons and the Hellenes, and even before the arrival of the Celts ! * 
What a confirmation of the statement that " God hath made of one 
blood all nations of men, to dwell upon the face of the whole earth!" 

In weighing the reasons Avhich may be adduced for affiliating the 
Dravidian languages in the main to the Scythian group, it should be 
borne in mind that whilst the generic characteristics of the Scythian 
languages are very strongly marked and incapable of being mistaken, 
in a vast variety of minor particulars, and especially in their vocabu- 
laries, the languages comprised in this family differ from one another 
more widely than the various idioms of the Indo-European family 
mutually differ. Thus, whilst in nearly all the Indo-European lan- 
guages the numerals are not only similar, but the same — (the Sanskrit 

* Professor Hunfalvy does not admit that the Finno-Ugrian race arrived in 
Europe before the Celts, Teutons, and Slavonians. I adhere, however, to the 
ordinary belief prevailing amongst ethnologists, which appears to me in the 
main well-grounded. The late arrival of the Magyars in Hungary is of course 


word for one being the only real exception to tlie rule of general iden- 
tity) — not only do the numerals of every Scythian family differ so 
widely from those of every other as to present few or no points of 
resemblance, but even the numerals of any two languages of the same 
family are found to differ very widely. So great, indeed, is the diver- 
sity existing amongst the Scythian tongues, that, whilst the Indo- 
European idioms form but one family, the Scythian tongues form not 
so much a family as a group of families — a group held together not 
by the bond of identity in details, but only by the bond of certain 
general characteristics which they all possess in common. The Indo- 
European languages may be regarded as forming but a single genus, 
of which each language — (Sanskrit, Zend, Old Persian, Greek, Latin, 
Gothic, Lithuanian, Slavonic, Celtic) — forms a species ; whilst the lan- 
guages of the Scythian group, more prolific in differences, comprise 
at least five or six authenticated genera, each of which includes as 
many species as are contained in the solitary Indo-European genus, 
besides twenty or thirty isolated languages, which have up to this 
time resisted every effort to classify them. 

This remarkable difference between the Indo-European languages 
and those of the Scythian stock seems to have arisen partly from the 
higher mental gifts and higher capacity for civilisation, with which the 
Indo-European tribes appear to have been endowed from the begin- 
ning, and still more from the earlier literary culture of their languages, 
and the better preservation, in consequence, of their forms and roots. 
It seems also to have arisen in part from their more settled habits, in 
comparison with the wandering, nomadic life led by most of the Scy- 
thian tribes. But, from whatever cause this difference may have arisen, 
it is obvious that in weighing evidences of relationship this circumstance 
must be taken into account ; and that so minute an agreement of long- 
separated sister dialects of the Scythian stock is not to be expected as 
in parallel cases amongst the Indo-European dialects. Professor Max 
Miiller, in his " Lectures on the Science of Language," adduces many 
instances of the rapidity and extent of the divergence which takes 
place between uncultivated dialects of the same language. Bishop 
Patteson also says, " In most cases the languages of two neighbouring 
islands may show their common derivation in their structure (the safest 
proof of all, I imagine), but nearly all the words will be different." — 
(" Letter from Bishop Patteson to Professor Max Miiller." Appendix 
to Life.) 

The relationship of the Dravidian languages to the languages of the 
Scythian group, — whether the relation of lineal descent, or the relation 
of sisterhood, or the wider relationship for which I plead, — has not 


been universally admitted by students of Dravidian philology. From 
the brief remarks bearing on this question contained in Dr Pope's 
various publications, it is evident that that eminent Dravidian scholar 
considers the Dravidian languages in the main Indo-European. In 
the introduction to his " Tamil Hand-Book" (Madras, 1859), he says : 
" The more deeply they (the South Indian languages) are studied, the 
more close will their affinity to Sanskrit be seen to be, and the more 
evident it will appear that they possess a primitive and very near 
relationship to the languages of the Indo-European group. Yet they 
are . certainly not mere Prakrits, or corruptions of Sanskrit. I have 
always supposed that their place was among the members of the last 
mentioned family, and that they were probably disjecta membra of a 
language coeval with Sanskrit, and having the same origin with it. 
They certainly contain many traces of a close connection with the 
Greek, the Gothic, the Persian, and the other languages of the same 
family, in points even where Sanskrit presents no parallel." In the 
introduction to his " Sermon on the Mount," in four Dravidian lan- 
guages, with comparative vocabulary and inflexional tables (Madras, 
1860), he says : " The writer would direct the attention of philologists 
to the deep-seated, radical affinities between these languages and the 
Cjeltic and Teutonic languages. Had leisure and space permitted, he 
was prepared to have exhibited in detail these analogies. In a next 
edition, or in some future work, he yet cherishes the hope of doing so. 
The subject of the affiliation of these languages is one which requires 
that further elucidation which nothing but a complete comparative 
lexicon could afford." The last reference he makes to the subject is 
in a prefatory notice to his *' Outlines of the Grammar of the Tuda 
Language" (Bangalore, 1872), in which he says: "While agreeing in 
the main with Dr Caldwell, I yet think that the remarkable analogies 
between the Celtic and the Dravidian languages merit a more thorough 
investigation." I trust Dr Pope will ere long have time to favour 
philologers with the thorough investigation which this question un- 
doubtedly merits. I may remark here, however, that in everything 
he says respecting the existence of 'analogies/ and * affinities,' and 
* traces of a close connection ' between the Dravidian languages and 
various members of the Indo-European family, I not only perfectly 
coincide with him, but pointed out many of those particulars of agree- 
ment or resemblance myself (yet without deducing from them pre- 
cisely the same conclusion) in every section of the first edition of this 
work. The theory I advocate, indeed, takes account of both sets of 
relationships — the Scythian and the Indo-European — though it regards 
the former as, on the whole, closer and more essential. With regard 


to Celtic affinities in particular, it is to be remembered that of all the 
members of the Indo-European family the Celtic is that which appears 
to have most in common with the Scythian group, and especially with 
the languages of the Finnish family — languages which may possibly 
have been widely spoken in Europe previously to the arrival of the 
Celts. It will be necessary, therefore, in each case to inquire whether 
the Celtic affinity may not also be a Scythian affinity. 

I refer the reader to Appendix II. for some remarks on the philo- 
logical portion of Mr Cover's "Folk-Songs of Southern India;" and 
also for a fuller explanation of the real nature of the theory respecting 
the relationship of the Dravidian languages to the languages of the 
Scythian group advocated in the first edition of this work. 

At the very outset of my own inquiries, I thought I observed in the 
Dravidian languages the Indo-European analogies to which I have 
referred ; and, rejecting affinities which are unreal and which disappear 
on investigation (such as the connection of the Tamil numerals ondru 
or onnu, one ; anju, five ; ettu, eight ; with un-us, panch-an, and 
asht-an, — a connection which looks very plausible, but appears to me 
to be illusory (see section on "Numerals"), — I think it highly probable 
that a small number of the grammatical forms of the Dravidian lan- 
guages and a more considerable number of their roots, are to be 
regarded as of cognate origin with corresponding forms and roots in 
the Indo-European languages. Notwithstanding the existence of a 
few analogies of this character, the most essential features of the 
grammar of the Dravidian idioms seem to me to be undoubtedly 
Scythian, and therefore I think the propriety of placing those idioms 
in the Scythian group is indicated. Though many Hebrew roots have 
been shown to be allied to Sanskrit, yet the Hebrew language does not 
cease to be regarded as Semitic rather than Indo-European ; so, not- 
withstanding many interesting analogies with Sanskrit, Greek, Gothic, 
Celtic, and Persian, which may be discovered on a careful examination of 
the Dravidian tongues, and which will be pointed out in their order in 
each of the succeeding sections, the essential characteristics of those 
tongues are such as seem to me to require us to regard them as in the 
main Scythian. Dr Gustave Schlegel, in his " Sinico-Aryaca " (Batavia, 
1872), a treatise on Chinese and Aryan affinities, endeavours to establish 
the existence of an ultimate relationship between the Chinese roots 
and those of the Aryan languages. Supposing this point established, it 
would not follow that Chinese is an Aryan tongue. It would only 
follow that it had succeeded in preserving certain exceedingly primitive 
forms of speech which had also been preserved in the languages of the 
Aryan family. Not Chinese only, but Sanskrit and Hebrew, are now 


known to liave been originally monosyllabic; and the monosyllabic 
character of most Dravidian roots, if not of all, will appear in every 
section of this work. Dr Bleek (in a paper in the Journal of the 
Antliro'pological Society for 1871) has thrown out the idea that the 
Aryan funiily of languages may possibly have been exposed at an early 
period to Dravidian injBuences. He says : " The Aryan are dis- 
tinguished from the other sex-denoting languages by the possession 
of a neuter gender. The Dravidian languages possess a neuter gender, 
which has as wide a range as in English, the most logically arranged 
of the Aryan languages. The distinctive marks of the neuter gender, 
in the Dravidian languages^ even agree with those of our own lan- 
guages to so great an extent that it does not appear probable that these 
two circles of languages (which are ' the only ones known to possess 
this threefold gender — i.e., masculine, feminine, and neuter) should 
have developed the neuter gender quite independently of each other. 
The Dravidian languages have not as yet been proved to belong to 
our own sex-denoting family of languages; and although it is not 
impossible that they may be shown ultimately to be a member of this 
family, yet it may also be that at the time of the formation of the 
Aryan languages a Dravidian influence was exerted upon them, to 
which this, among other similarities, is due." The Dravidian lan- 
guages had a neuter pronoun of the third person at the earliest period 
to which their forms can be traced ; but I suspect it was at a later 
period of their history that gender made its appearance in the verb. 
When the Dravidians entered India their verb must, I think, have 
been without personal terminations, and therefore without gender. It 
will be seen hereafter that gender is more fully and systematically 
developed in the verb of the Dravidian literary dialects than in any 
other language in the world. This could not have been owing to the 
influence of Sanskrit, but must have been ah intra. 

In stating that the Dravidian languages contain certain roots and 
forms allied to Sanskrit, and to the Indo-European languages gene- 
rally, it is necessary to preclude misapprehension. During the long 
period of the residence of the Dravidian and Aryan races in the same 
country, the Dravidian vocabularies have borrowed largely from Sans- 
krit. It is necessary therefore to remind the reader that the analogies 
to which I refer are not founded on the existence in the Dravidian 
tongues of Sanskrit derivatives, but are such as are discoverable in the 
original structure and primitive vocabulary of those languages. Whilst 
the Dravidian languages have confessedly borrowed much from their 
more wealthy neighbours, Sanskrit, in some instances, has not disdained 
to borrow from the Dravidian : but in general there is no difficulty in 


distinguisliing what the one language has borrowed from the other; 
and the statement I have now made relates not to derivatives, or words 
which may be supposed to be derivatives, but to radical, deep-seated 
analogies which it is difficult to explain on any supposition but that 
of a partial or distant relationship. In most instances the words and 
forms in which analogies are discoverable are allied not to Sanskrit 
alone, but to the entire Indo-European family : in not a few instances 
analogies are discoverable in Greek and Latin, which are not found in 
Sanskrit ; and in many of those instances in which Sanskrit appears 
to exhibit the closest analogy, it is not the euphonised, systematised 
Sanskrit (Sa?/zskrita) of written compositions, but the crude, original 
Sanskrit, which is discoverable by analysis and comparison, — the Vor- 
Sanskrit of W. von Humboldt. 

I subjoin here a few illustrations of what I mean by primitive, un- 
derived Indo-Europeanisms discoverable in the Dravidian languages. 

(1.) The use of n^ as in Greek, to prevent hiatus. 

(2.) The existence of gender in the pronouns of the third person and 
in verbs, and in particular the existence of a neuter gender. 

(3.) The use oi d oi t as the sign of the neuter singular of demon- 
strative pronouns or pronouns of the third person. 

(4.) The existence of a neuter plural, as in Latin, in short a. 

(5.) The formation of the remote demonstrative from a base in a, the 
proximate from a base in i. 

(6.) The formation of most preterites, as in Persian, by the addition 

(7.) The formation of some preterites by the reduplication of a por- 
tion of the root. 

(8.) The formation of a considerable number of verbal nouns by 
lengthening the vowel of the verbal root. See also ^' Glossarial Affi- 

The illustrations given above form only a small portion of the 
analogous forms which will be adduced in the grammatical analysis 
and in the glossarial affinities : they will, however, suffice to render it 
probable that Indo-European analogies are really discoverable in the 
Dravidian languages. They also serve to illustrate the statement, that, 
though Sanskrit has long been the nearest neighbour of the Dravidian 
tongues, there are not a few Dravidian roots which seem more nearly 
allied to the western Indo-European idioms than to the Sanskritic or 
eastern. If therefore the Dravidian languages may be classified, 
as I am still inclined to classify them, as essentially and in the 
main Scythian, I must add that I consider them as of all Scythian 
tongues those which present the most numerous, ancient, and interest- 


ing analogies to the Indo-European languages. The position which 
this family occupies, if not mid-way between the two groups, seems to 
me to lie on that side of the Scythian group on which the Indo- 
European appears to have been severed from it, and on which the most 
distinct traces of the original identity of the families still remain. If 
this view be correct (as I think it will be shown to be), the Indo- 
Europeanisms discoverable in the Dravidian languages carry us back to 
a period beyond all history, beyond all mythology, not only prior to the 
separation of the western branches of the Indo-European race from the 
eastern, but prior also to the separation of the yet undivided Indo- 
European race from that portion of the common stock which was after- 
wards styled Scythian. 

It is a curious circumstance that in the vocabulary of the Dravidian 
languages, especially in that of Tamil, a few Semitic analogies may also 
be discovered. In some instances the analogous roots are found in the 
Indo-European family, as well as in Hebrew, though the Hebrew form 
of the root is more closely analogous. For example, though we find in 
Latin ave-o, to desire, and in Sanskrit aVy of which * to desire ' is a 
subordinate meaning ; yet the corresponding Tamil words avd, desire, 
and dval (signifying also desire, a verbal noun from a lost verb dv-u, 
to desire) seems still more directly allied to the Hebrew dvah, to desire, 
and the verbal noun avvdh, desire. In addition, however, to such 
general analogies as pervade several families of tongues, including the 
Dravidian, there are a few roots discoverable, I think, both in the 
Dravidian languages and in Hebrew, to which I am not aware of the 
existence of any resemblance in any language of the Indo-European 
family. Illustrations of these special analogies will be found under 
the head of '' Glossarial AfiBnities : Semitic." 

The Semitic analogies observable in Tamil are neither so numerous 
nor so important as the Indo-European, nor do they carry with them 
such convincing evidence; but taking them in connection with that 
more numerous and important class of analogous roots which are found 
in the Indo-European languages, as well as in Hebrew, but of which 
the Hebrew form is more closely allied to the Dravidian (see the " Glos- 
sarial Affinities "), these analogies, such as they are, constitute an addi- 
tional element of interest in the problem of the origin and pra3-historic 
connections of the Dravidian race. I do not adduce these analogies 
for the purpose of endeavouring to prove the existence of any relation- 
ship between the Dravidian language and Hebrew. Aware of the 
danger of proving nothing by attempting to prove too much, I content 
myself with merely staUng those analogies, without attempting to 
deduce any inference from them. The Indo-European analogies are so 


intimately connected with the individuality and vital essence of the 
Dravidian languages, that it seems difficult to suppose them to be 
merely the result of early association, however intimate. It is only on 
the supposition of the existence of a remote or partial relationship that 
they appear to be capable of being fully explained. In the case of the 
Semitic analogies, however, the supposition of a relationship between 
the two families of tongues does not appear to be necessary. The 
analogies that appear to exist may be only accidental, or they can be 
accounted for on the hypothesis — a very easy and natural one — that the 
primitive Dravidians were at some early period before their arrival in 
India associated with a people speaking a Semitic language. 

It seems proper here to notice the remarkable general resemblance 
which exists between the Dravidian pronouns and those of the aborigi- 
nal tribes of southern and western Australia. In whatever w^ay it may 
be explained, the existence of a general resemblance seems to be un- 
questionable ; but it has not hitherto been observed that the Australian 
pronouns of the first person are more nearly allied to the Tibetan than 
to the Dravidian. This will appear from the following comparative 
view of the pronoun of the first person singular. 






ndn, yd7i, nd, 

nga, ngaii, iigatsa, 

nga, nge, nged, 


Whilst the base of this pronoun seems to be closely allied to the 
corresponding pronoun in Tibetan, and in the Indo-Chinese family 
generally, the manner in which it is pluralised in the Australian 
dialects bears a marked resemblance to the Dravidian, and especially 
to Telugu. Telugu forms its' plurals by suffixing lu to the singular ; 
the Australian dialects by a similar addition of lu, li, dlu, dli, &c. In 
this particular some of the dialects of the north-eastern frontier of 
India exhibit also an agreement with Telugu — e.g., compare Dhimal 
M, thou, with nyel, you. In the Australian dialects I find the follow- 
ing plurals and duals of the pronoun of the first person — we, or we 
two, ngalu, ngadlu, ngadli, ngalata, &c. Compare this with the 
manner in which the Telugu forms its plural — e.g., vavd'u, he, vdndlu, 
they ; and even with the Tamil ' plural exclusive ' of the pronoun of 
the first person — e.g., ndn, I, ndngal, we. 

The resemblance between the Australian pronouns of the second 
person, both singular and plural, and those of the Dravidian languages 
is more distinct and special, and is apparent, not only in the suffixes, 
but in the pronominal base itself. The normal forms of these pronouns 
in the Dravidian languages are — singular, ntn, plural, nim. The per- 


sonality resides in the crude root ni, thou, which is the same in both 
numbers, with the addition of a singular formative n {nin, thou), and 
a pluralising formative m (ni-m, thous, or you). In some cases the 
phiralising particle m has been displaced, and r, which I regaj-d as pro- 
perly the sign of the epicene plural of the third person, has been sub- 
stituted for it — e.g., ntr, you (in Telugu mir-u.) This abnormal form 
ntr is most used as a nominative, the older and more regular 7iim 
retains its place in the compounds. Whilst i is the vowel which is 
almost invariably found in the singular of the pronoun of the second 
person, it is found that in the plural i often gives place to u, as in the 
classical Tamil numa, your, and the Brahui num, you. It is to be 
noticed also that the modern Canarese has softened nim into nlvu or 
niwu, in the nominative. It is singular, in whatever way it may be 
accounted for, that in each of the particulars now mentioned the Aus- 
tralian dialects resemble the Dravidian. See the following comparative 
view. Under the Australian head I class the dual together with the 
plural, as being substantially the same. 

Dravidian. Adstealian. 

thou, nin, nin, ninna, nginne, ngintoa, ningte. 

you, n%m, nim, ntr, num, nivu, nimedoo, nura, niwa, ngurle. 

Compare also the accusative of the first person singular in Tamil, 
ennei, me, with the Australian accusative emmo. 

The grammatical structure of the Australian dialects exhibits a gene- 
ral agreement with the languages of the Scythian group. In the use 
of postpositions instead of prepositions ; in the use of two forms of the 
first person plural, one inclusive of the party addressed, the other 
exclusive j in the formation of inceptive, causative, and reflective verbs 
by the addition of certain particles to the root ; and, generally, in the 
agglutinative structure of words and in the position of words in a 
sentence, the dialects of Australia resemble the Dravidian — as also the 
Turkish, the Mongolian, ajid other Scythian languages; and in the 
same particulars, with one or two exceptions, they difi"er essentially 
from the dialects which are called Polynesian. The vocabularies of the 
Australian dialects which have been compiled do not appear to furnish 
additional confirmation to the resemblances pointed out above ; but it 
is difficult to suppose these resemblances to be unreal or merely acci- 
dental, and it is obvious that the Australian dialects demand (and pro- 
bably will reward) further examination."^ 

* See a paper " On the position of the Australian languages," by W. H. J. 
Bleek, Esq., Ph.D., read at a Meeting of the Anthropological Society. London, 


It is singular also, and still more difficult to be accounted for, that 
some resemblances may be traced between the Dravidian languages and 
the Bornu, or rather the Kanuri, one of the languages spoken in the 
Bornu country, in Central Africa. Most of the resemblances are, it is 
true, of a general nature — e.g., the Kanuri is agglutinative in structure, 
it uses postpositions instead of prepositions, it adds to nouns and sen- 
tences syllables expressive of doubt, interrogation, and emphasis, in a 
peculiarly Dravidian manner, and its verb has a negative voice. It 
has an objective verb, as well as a subjective, like the Hungarian. The 
most distinctive resemblance to the Dravidian languages I notice is in 
the pronoun of the second person, which is ni, as in each of the Dra- 
vidian dialects. Even this, however, as has been shown, is common 
to the Dravidian with Brahui, Chinese, the language of the second 
Behistun tablets, and the Australian dialects. The Kanuri language 
differs so remarkably from the rest of the African tongues, that it is 
very desirable that its relationship should be fully investigated. See 
Koelle's '' Grammar of Bornu." 

Which Language or Dialect best represents the Primitive 
Condition of the Dravidian Tongues 1 

Before entering upon the grammatical comparison of the Dravidian 
dialects^ it seems desirable to ascertain where we should look for their 
earliest characteristics. Some persons have been of opinion that what 
is called Shen-Tamil {S en- D amir), or the classical dialect of the Tamil 
language, is to be regarded as the best representative of the primitive 
Dravidian speech. Without underestimating the great value of the 
Shen-Tamil, I am convinced that no one dialect can be implicitly 
accepted as a mirror of Dravidian antiquity. A comparison of all the 
dialects that exist will be found our best and safest guide to a know- 
ledge of the primitive speech from which the various existing dialects 
have diverged ; and not only the Shen-Tamil, but every existing dialect, 
even the rudest, will be found to contribute its quota of help towards 
this end. The Tamil pronouns of the first and second person cannot 
be understood without a knowledge of Ancient or Classical Canarese ; 
and the Khond or Ku, one of the rudest dialects, the grammar of which 
was reduced to writing only a few years ago, is the only dialect which 
throws light on the masculine and feminine terminations of the Dravi- 
dian pronouns of the third person. Still it is unquestionable that the 
largest amount of assistance towards ascertaining the primitive condi- 
tion of the Dravidian languages will be afforded by Tamil, and in par- 
ticular by Shen-Tamil; and this naturally follows from the circum- 


stance that of all the Dravidian idioms Tamil appears to have been the 
earliest cultivated. 

(1.) Literary, classical dialects of the Dravidian Languages : To what 
extent may they he regarded as representing the primitive condition 
of those Languages ? 

It is a remarkable peculiarity of the Indian languages that, as soon 
as they begin to be cultivated, the literary style evinces a tendency to 
become a literary dialect distinct from the dialect of common life, with 
a grammar and vocabulary of its own. This is equally characteristic 
of the speech of the Aryans of the north and of that of the Dravidians 
of the south. The relation in which Sanskrit stands to the Prakrits 
and the modern vernaculars is not identical with the relation in which 
the dead languages of Europe stand to the living languages descended 
from them. The so-called dead languages of Europe were at one time 
living tongues, spoken nearly as they were written, as,, e.g., th^ speeches 
of Demosthenes and Cicero testify. When we call those languages 
dead, we merely mean to describe them as the speech of the dead past, 
not that of the living present. Sanskrit cannot properly be called a 
dead language in this sense. Probably it was never the actual, every- 
day speech of any portion of the Aryans of India at any period of their 
history, however remote. Its name Sam.skrita, the elaborated or deve- 
loped speech, illustrates its origin. It was the language not of any 
race or district, but of a class — the class of bards and priests, the lite- 
rary men of the first ages ; or rather it was the language of literature ; 
and as literary culture made progress, the language of literature became 
ever more copious, euphonious, and refined. If life means growth, 
and if growth means change, Sanskrit must be regarded as having for 
a long period been, not a dead, but a living tongue ; though it must be 
admitted that it changed slowly, like everything else in India — more 
slowly, doubtless, than the colloquial dialects. The Sanskrit of the 
Puranas differed from the Sanskrit of the Vedas ; and in the Vedas 
themselves the style of the later hymns differed from that of the ear- 
lier. The earliest Sanskrit extant is evidently the result of a process 
of refinement, originating in the literary activity of a still earlier period, 
of which no records survive. A composition is not necessarily ancient 
because written in Sanskrit ; for all through the ages, down to very 
recent times, all the literati of Northern and Western India, with the 
exception of the Buddhists, together with a considerable proportion of 
the literati of the South, have been accustomed to regard Sanskrit as 



the most orthodox vehicle for the expression of every variety of ortho- 
dox thought. 

" The great reformer Buddha, in the sixth century before Christ, 
adopted the popular speech as the vehicle of his teachings ; his suc- 
cessors were infected with an unbounded cacoethes scribendi, and have 
left behind a literature of enormous extent. Here again, however, the 
fatal mistake common to all Indian writers was committed. No sooner 
had Prakrit become the language of the Buddhists' scriptures, than it 
was at once regarded as sacred, and carefully preserved from change or 
development. It took with regard to the popular speech the same 
position that Sanskrit had taken in the earlier centuries. This seems 
to be the fate of all Indian languages : when once committed to writing 
they assume a literary type, and have a tendency to draw away from 
the vulgar living tongue of the people. In the present day we see the 
same process going on in Bengal. Few Bengali writers, save those 
whose minds have been to some extent moulded on English models of 
thought and feeling, are content to write as they speak. They must 
have something more elaborate and refined when they take pen in 
hand, and fill their pages with pompous and artificial Sanskrit words, 
which they readily admit are not ' understanded of the people.'" 

This state of things is not peculiar to Northern India. We find 
precisely the same tendencies, with the same results, in the South. 
Each of the four cultivated Dravidian languages has split up into two 
dialects more or less distinct — a literary, classical dialect; and a 
popular, colloquial dialect. Classical Canarese is usually called ' Old 
Canarese ; ' but it may more properly be regarded neither as new nor 
as old, but simply as the language of Canarese literature, seeing that 
it is the language in which literary compositions seem always to have 
been written, at least from the twelfth century, when Kesava's grammar 
was composed, down to the present day. ' Old Malayalam ' seems to 
have a better title than Old Canarese to be called ' old,' inasmuch as 
it contains a considerable number of obsolete forms. Moreover, whilst 
modern Malayilam literature is intensely Sanskritic, the older literature 
was pervaded with the characteristics of the older or classical Tamil. 
The language of Telugu poetry differs considerably from that of every- 
day life, but it is not regarded as a different dialect, or designated by 
any special name. It is regarded by native Telugu scholars as differing 
from ordinary Telugu only in being purer and more elevated. The most 
appropriate name for any of the literary dialects, as it appears to me, is 
that by which the higher dialect of Tamil is designated. It is called 
Shen-Tamil (Sen-Damir) — that is, classical or correct Tamil, literally 
* straight Tamil,' by which name it is meant to be distinguished not 


merely from the colloquial Tamil of tlie masses, but still more from 
certain rude local dialects, said to be twelve in number, mentioned by 
the grammarians by name, and included under the generic designation 
of Kodun-Damir — that is literally, ' crooked Tamil.' The name ordinarily 
given by Europeans to the literary dialect of Tamil is ' High Tamil ;' and 
this appears to me to be a more accurate term, on the whole, than that 
ordinarily given to the literary dialect of Canarese ; for though there 
is a sense in which each of these literary dialects may be described as 
' old,' their most essential characteristic is the extraordinary amount of 
polish and refinement they have received. Classical Tamil bears nearly 
the same relation to the actual speech of the people that Sanskrit (that 
is, classical Indo-Aryan) did to the ancient Prakrits, and now does to 
the modern Gaurian vernaculars. Even at the time the oldest extant 
High Tamil compositions were written, there was probably almost as 
wide a difference between the language of the vulgar and that affected 
by the literati as there is at present. It is inconceivable that so 
elaborately refined and euphonised a style of language as that of the 
classical poems and grammars, can ever have been the actual every-day 
speech of any class of the people. It contains, it is true, many ancient 
forms j but forms that had come to be regarded as vulgar by the time 
that literary culture had commenced (no matter how great their anti- 
quity), seem to have been systematically rejected. The speech of the 
masses may therefore contain forms and words as old as, or even older 
than, the corresponding forms and words of the literature ; and yet there 
is an important difference between the two to be borne in mind. No 
argument in favour of the antiquity of a word or form can be founded 
merely on the fact of its existence in the colloquial dialect ; whereas 
the existence of a word or form in the classical dialect, especially in 
the grammars and vocabularies of that dialect, proves at least that it 
was in existence when that dialect was fixed, which certainly cannot 
have been less than a thousand years ago. There is an additional 
presumption in favour of its antiquity in the circumstance that all 
poets, even the earliest, have been accustomed to regard expressions 
that were considered more or less archaic in their own time, as pecu- 
liarly suitable to poetical compositions. 

(2). High antiquity of the literal^ cultivation of Tamil. 

The relatively high antiquity of the literary cultivation of Tamil 
being a matter of interest considered in itself, irrespective of its bear- 
ings on the question of DAvidian comparative grammar, I shall here 
adduce a few of the evidences on which this conclusion rests. 


1. Classical Tamil, which not only contains all the refinements 
which the Tamil has received, but also exhibits to some extent the 
primitive condition of the language, differs more from the colloquial 
Tamil than the classical dialect of any other Dravidian idiom differs 
from its ordinary dialect. It differs from colloquial Tamil so con- 
siderably that it might almost be considered as a distinct language : 
for not only is classical Tamil poetry as unintelligible to the unlearned 
Tamilian as the vEneid of Virgil to a modern Italian peasant, but even 
prose compositions written in the classical dialect might be read for 
hours in the hearing of a person acquainted only with the colloquial 
idiom, without his understanding a single sentence. Notwithstanding 
this, classical Tamil contains less Sanskrit, not more, than the col- 
loquial dialect. It affects purism and national independence ; and its 
refinements are all ab intra. As the words and forms of classical 
Tamil cannot have been invented all at once by the poets, but must 
have come into use slowly and gradually, the degree in which colloquial 
Tamil has diverged from the poetical dialect, notwithstanding the 
slowness with which language, like everything else, changes in the 
East, seems to me a proof of the high antiquity of the literary cultiva- 
tion of Tamil. 

2. Another evidence consists in the extraordinary copiousness of 
the Tamil vocabulary, and the number and variety of the grammatical 
forms of Shen-Tamil. The Shen-Tamil grammar is a crowded museum 
of obsolete forms, cast-off inflexions, and curious anomalies. Many of 
these will be pointed out from time to time in the body of this work. 
I may here refer especially to the extreme and almost naked simplicity 
of some of the conjugational forms of the oldest Tamil, particularly to 
the existence of an uninflected form of the verb, and of another form 
in which only the first rudimentary traces of inflection are seen. These 
particulars, as will be shown in the Part " on the Verb," seem to me to 
point to the arrest of the development of the Tamil verb at a very 
early period by the invention of writing, as in the still more remark- 
able instance of Chinese. The extraordinary copiousness of the Tamil 
vocabulary is shown by the fact that a school lexicon of the Tamil 
language, published by the American missionaries at Jaffna, contains 
no less than 58,500 words ; notwithstanding which, it would be neces- 
sary to add several thousands of technical terms, besides provincialisms, 
and thousands upon thousands of authorised compounds, in order to 
render the list complete. Nothing strikes a Tamil scholar more, on 
examining the dictionaries of the other Dravidian dialects, than the 
paucity of their lists of synonyms in comparison with those of Tamil. 
The Tamil vocabulary contains not only those words which may be 


regarded as appropriate to the language, inasmuch as they are used by- 
Tamil alone, but also those which may be considered as the property 
of Telugu, Canarese, &c. Thus, the word used for ' house ' in ordinary 
Tamil is vidu; but the vocabulary contains also, and occasionally uses, 
the word appropriate to Telugu, il (Tel. illu), and the distinctive Can- 
arese word, manei (Can. mana); besides another synonym, Tcudi, 
which it has in common with Sanskrit and the whole of the Finnish 
languages. The grammar and vocabulary of Tamil are thus to a con- 
siderable extent the common repository of Dravidian forms and roots. 
We may conclude, therefore, that the literary cultivation of Tamil 
dates from a period prior to that of the other idioms, and not long 
subsequent to the final breaking up of the language of the ancient 
Dravidians into dialects. 

3. Another evidence of the antiquity and purity of Tamil consists 
in the agreement of the ancient Canarese, the ancient Malay4|am, the 
Tulu, and also the Tuda, Gond, and Ku, with Tamil, in many of 
the particulars in which modern Canarese and modern Telugu differ 
from it. 

4. The fact that in many instances the forms of Telugu roots and 
inflexions have evidently been softened down from the forms of Tamil, 
is a strong confirmation of the higher antiquity of the Tamilian forms. 
Instances of this will be given in the section on the phonetic system of 
these languages. It will suffice now to adduce, as an illustration of 
what is meant, the transposition of vowels in the Telugu demonstra- 
tive pronouns. The true Dravidian demonstrative bases are a, remote, 
and i, proximate ; to which are suffixed the formatives of the genders, 
with V euphonic,, to prevent hiatus. The Tamil demonstratives are 
avan, ille, and ivan, hie. The Telugu masculine formative answering 
to the Tamil an, is du, udu, or adu ; and hence the demonstratives in • 
Telugu, answering to the Tamil avan^ ivan^ might be expected to be 
avadu and ivadu, instead of which we find vdd2i, ille, and vtdu, hie. 
Here the demonstrative bases a and i have shifted from their natural 
position at the beginning of the word to the middle, whilst by coales- 
cing with the vowel of the formative, or as a compensation for its loss, 
their quantity has been increased. The altered, abnormal form of the 
Telugu is evidently the later one ; but as even the high dialect of the 
Telugu contains no other form, the period when the Telugu grammar 
was rendered permanent by written rules and the aid of written com- 
positions, must have been subsequent to the origin of the corruption 
in question, and therefore subsequent to the literary cultivation of 
Tamil. • 


5. Another evidence of antiquity consists in the great corruption of 
many of the Sanskrit tadhhavas or derivatives found in Tamil. 

The Sanskrit contained in Tamil may be divided into three portions 
of different dates. 

(1.) The most recent portion was introduced by the three religious 
schools which divide amongst them the allegiance of the mass of the 
Tamil people. These are the school of the S'aiva-Siddh^nta, or that of 
the philosophy of the Agamas, the most popular system amongst the 
Tamil Sudras, the school of S'ankara Acharya, the apostle of Advaita, 
and the chief rival of 'both, the school of S'ri Vaishnava, founded by 
Rjimanuja Acharya. The period of the greatest activity and influence 
of those sects seems to have extended from about the eleventh century, 
A.D., to the sixteenth ; * and the Sanskrit derivatives introduced by 
the adherents of these systems (with the exception of a few points 
wherein change was unavoidable) are pure, unchanged Sanskrit. 

(2.) The school of writers, partly preceding the above and partly 
contemporaneous with them, by which the largest portion of the San- 
skrit derivatives found in Tamil were introduced, was that of the 
Jainas, which flourished from about the ninth or tenth century, a.d., 
to the thirteenth. The period of the predominance of the Jainas (a 
predominance in intellect and learning — rarely a predominance in 
political power) was the Augustan age of Tamil literature, the period 
when the Madura College, a celebrated literary association, appears to 
have flourished, and when the Kural, the Chintamani, and the classical 
vocabularies and grammars were written. The Sanskrit derivatives 
found in the writings of this period are very considerably altered, so as 
to accord with Tamil euphonic rules. Thus Idha, Sans, the world, is 
changed into ulagu ; rdj'd, a king, into a^^asu. 

Nearly the whole of the Sanskrit derivatives found in Telugu, Ca- 
narese, and MalayMam belong to the periods now mentioned, or at 
least they accord on the whole with the derivatives found in the Tamil 

* It appears probable that it was during this period that the great temples of 
the Carnatic were erected. Those temples, the most stupendous works of the 
kind in the East, seem to have owed their existence to the enthusiasm and zeal 
of the adherents of the Saiva-Siddh^nta system. I have not yet been able to 
ascertain the exact date when any of the more celebrated temples was erected ; 
but from inscriptions in my possession recording donations and endowments 
made to them, I am able to state that the greater number of the ^aiva temples 
were in existence in the twelfth century, many in the eleventh. I have not 
ascertained the existence of any Vaishnava temple in the South before the twelfth 


of those two periods, especially the former or more recent. They are 
divided, according to the degree of permutation or corruption to which 
they have been subjected, into the two classes of tat-sama^ the same 
with it — i.e., words which are identical with Sanskrit — and tad-hhava, 
of the same nature with it = derived from it — i.e., words which are 
derived from a Sanskrit origin, but have been more or less corrupted 
or changed by local influences. The former class, or tatsama words, 
are scarcely at all altered, and generally look like words which have 
been used only by Brahmans, or which had been introduced into the 
vernaculars at a period when the Sanskrit alphabetical and phonetic 
systems had become naturalised, through the predominance of the later 
forms of Hinduism. Sanskrit derivatives of the second class which 
have been altered more considerably, or tadhhava words, do not appear 
to have been borrowed direct from Sanskrit, but are represented by 
Telugu and Canarese grammarians themselves as words that have been 
borrowed from the Prakrits, or colloquial dialects of the Sanskrit, 
spoken in ancient times in the contiguous Gaura provinces. 

(3.) In addition to the Sanskrit tatsama and tadhhava derivatives of 
the two periods now mentioned — the modern Vedantic, Saiva, and 
Vaishnava periods, and the Jaina period — Tamil contains many deriva- 
tives belonging to the very earliest period of the literary culture of the 
language — derivatives which are probably of an earlier date than the 
introduction of Sanskrit into the other dialects. The derivatives of 
this class were not borrowed from the northern Prakrits (though much 
more corrupted than even the derivatives borrowed from those Prakrits 
by Canarese and Telugu), but appear to have been derived from oral 
intercourse with the first Brahmanical priests, scholars, and astrologers, 
and probably remained unwritten for a considerable time. The San- 
skrit of this period is not only greatly more corrupted than that of the 
period of the Jainas, but its corruptions are of a different character. 
The Jainas altered the Sanskrit which they borrowed in order to 
bring it into accordance with Tamil euphonic rules ; whereas in the 
Sanskrit of the period now under consideration — the earliest period 
— the changes that have been introduced seem to be in utter 
defiance of rule. The following are instances of derivatives of this 
class : 

(a.) The Sans, ir^, sacred, was altered into tiru, whilst a more 
recent alteration of the Sanskrit word is into sirt, sirt, and si. 

(b.) The Sans, karman, a work, is in the Tamil of the more modern 
periods altered into karumam and hanmam; but in the older Tamil 
it was corrupted into Jcam. 

(c.) Several of the names of the Tamil months supply us with illu- 


strations of early corruptions of Sanskrit. The Tamil months, though 
now solar-siderial, are named from the old lunar asterisms, the names 
of which asterisms, and still more the names of the months borrowed 
from them, are greatly corrupted. J^'.g., the asterism pilrva-dshddani, 
is changed into pitrddam : ashddam, also, is changed into ddam, from 
which is formed ddi, the Tamil name of the month July — August. 
The name of the asterism asvint has been corrupted into eippasi, 
which is the Tamil name of the month October — November. The 
change of pHrva hhadra-pada, the Sanskrit name of one of the asterisms, 
into 'purattdsi is still more extraordinary. PHrva-hhadra-pada was 
first changed into pitraftddi, the name of the corresponding asterism 
in Tamil ; and this, again, by the shortening of the first syllable and 
the change of di into si, became purattdsi, the Tamil month September 
— October. The corresponding names of the asterisms and months in 
Telugu, Canarese, &c., are pure, unchanged Sanskrit ; and hence the 
greater antiquity of the introduction of those words into Tamil, or at 
least the greater antiquity of their use in Tamil written compositions, 
may safely be concluded. 

6. The higher antiquity of the literary cultivation of Tamil may also 
be inferred from Tamil inscriptions. In Karnataka and Teling^na, 
every inscription of an early date and the majority even of modern 
inscriptions are written in Sanskrit. Even when the characters 
employed are those of the ancient Canarese or Telugu (characters which 
have been arranged to express the peculiar sounds of Sanskrit), 
Sanskrit is the language in which the inscription is found to be written, 
if it is one of any antiquity. In the Tamil country, on the contrary, 
all inscriptions belonging to an early period are written in Tamil ; and 
I have not met with, or heard of, a single Sanskrit inscription in the 
Tamil country which appears to be older than the fourteenth century 
A.D., though I have obtained fac-similes of all the inscriptions I could 
hear of in South Tinnevelly and South Travancore — integral portions 
of the ancient P^ndyan kingdom. The number of inscriptions I have 
obtained is about a hundred and fifty. They were found on the walls 
and floors of temples, and on rocks and pillars. The latest are written 
in Grantha, or the character in which Sanskrit is written by the Dra- 
vida Brahmans ; those of an earlier age either in an old form of the 
existing Tamil character,* or in a still older character, which appears to 

* I have long hoped at some period to make public the items of information 
contained in those inscriptions, not one of which is included in the inscriptions 
belonging to the Mackenzie collection of MSS. I may, however, mention here 
the following results I have arrived at : — 1. The generally fictitious character of 


Lave been common to tlie Tamil and the ancient Malayalam countries, 
and is the character in which the ancient sdsanas or documentary tablets 
in the possession of the Jews at Cochin and of the Syrian Christians 
in Travancore are written. This character is still used with some varia- 
tions by the Muhammedan colonists in North Malayalam. It presents 
some points of resemblance to the modern Telugu-Canarese character, 
and also to the character in which some undeciphered inscriptions in 
Ceylon and the Eastern Islands are written.* The language of all the 
more ancient of these inscriptions is Tamil, and the style in which they 
are written is that of the classical dialect, without any of those double 
plurals (e.g., ningal, yous, instead of ntr, you), and other unauthorised 
novelties by which modern Tamil is disfigured ; but it is free also from 
the affected brevity and involutions of the poetical style. As no 
inscription of any antiquity in Teling^na or Karn^taka is found to be 
written in the Canarese or the Telugu language, whatever be the 
character employed, the priority of Tamil literary culture, as well as 
its national independence to a considerable extent, may fairly be 

I may here remark that the Cochin and Travancore sdsanas or tablets 
which are referred to above, and which have been translated by Dr 
Gundert, prove amongst other things the substantial identity of ancient 
MalayMam with ancient Tamil. The date of these documents is pro- 
bably not later than the ninth century a.d., nor earlier than the 
seventh ; f for the technical terms of solar- siderial chronology (derived 
from the Surya-Siddh^nta of Arya-bhatta) which are employed in these 

the long lists of kings of Madura, each with a high-sounding Sanskrit name, which 
are contained in the local Purdnas and other legends, and which have been pub- 
lished by Professor Wilson in his '* Historical Sketch of the Pandiyan Kingdom," 
and by Mr Taylor in his " Oriental Historical MSS." 2. The veracity and accu- 
racy of most of the references to the P^ndya and Chdla dynasties contained in 
the MahS,-wanso and other historical records and compilations of the Singhalese 
Buddhists. 3. The fact, or proof of the fact, of the subjection of the whole of the 
P^ndya country, including South Travancore, to the Cholas in the eleventh and 
twelfth centuries. 4. The probable identification of Sundara Pandya, by whom 
the Jainas (sometimes erroneously termed Buddhists) were finally expelled from 
Madura, and whom Professor Wilson has placed in the eighth or ninth century 
A.D., with the * Sender Bandi,' who is said by Marco Polo to have been reigning 
in the southern part of the peninsula during his visit to India in the end of the 
thirteenth century. The same Sundara P^ndya is placed by native Hind<i autho- 
rities some thousands of years before the Christian era. See " Kelative Antiquity 
'of Dravidian Literature." 

* Journal of the Madras Literary Society, vol. xiii. 

+ I here allow the language <^ the first edition to stand, my conjecture having 
been found to be very near the mark. See Section on Dravidian Alphabets. 


inscriptions were not introduced till the seventh century. The sdsanas 
were written at a time when the Kerala dynasty was still predominant 
on the Malabar coast ; * but though words and forms which are pecu- 
liar to MalayMam may be detected in them, the general style of the 
language in which they are written is Tamil, the inflexions of the 
nouns and verbs are Tamil, and the idiom is mostly Tamil; and we are 
therefore led to infer that at that period Tamil was the language at 
least of the court and of the educated classes in the Malay^lam 
country, and that what is now called Malay^lam, if it then existed 
at all, was probably nothing more than a patois current amongst 
the inhabitants of the hills and jungles in the interior. The fact that 
the sdsanas which were given by the ancient Malay^lam kings to the 
Jews and Syrian Christians are in the Tamil language, instead of what 
is now called Malaydlam, cannot be accounted for by the supposition 
of the subjection at that time of any part of the Malay^lam country to 
the ancient kings of Madura ; for the kings in question were Kerala, 
not P^ndya kings, with Kerala names, titles, and insignia; and it is 
evident from the Greek geographers themselves, from whom alone we 
know anything of an ancient P^ndya conquest, that it was only a few 
isolated places, on or near the Malabar coast, that were really under 
the rule of the P^ndyas. The only part of the MalayMam country 
which at that period could have belonged bond fide to the Pindyas, 
was the southern part of the country of the Aii or Paralia, i.e., South 
Travancore, a district which has always been inhabited chiefly by 
Pandis, and where to the present day the language of the entire people 
is Tamil, not Malayalam. 

From the various particulars mentioned above, it appears clear that 
the Tamil language was of all the Dravidian idioms the earliest culti- 
vated ; it also appears highly probable that in the endeavour to ascer- 

* One of them is dated " in the thirty-sixth year of King Ravi VarmS,, opposite 
the second year." By this vexed expression, "opposite the second year," Mr 
Whish supposed that a reference was made to the " second cycle of a thousand 
years from the building of Quilon," a calculation according to which the present 
year, 1875, would be the fiftieth of the third cycle; but the same expression is 
exceedingly common in ancient Tamil inscriptions [e.g., I have found "the 
seventh year of King KulaSekhara opposite the fifteenth year") ; and it denotes, 
I conceive, the year of "the cycle of sixty" (which seems to have been at one 
time the prevailing calculation all over India), to which the year of the king's 
reign stands "opposite," or answers. Dr Burnell supposes the one year to be 
that of the king's age, and the other year that of his reign, to which it corre- 
sponds ; but this supposition would hardly suit those cases where both numbers 
are under ten. I admit, however, that the year of the cycle of sixty, in all the 
authentic instances I am acquainted with, cited, not by its number, but by 
its name. 


tain the characteristics of the primitive Dravidian speech, from which 
the various existing dialects have divaricated, most assistance will be 
furnished by Tamil The amount and value of this assistance will 
appear in almost every portion of the grammatical comparison on which 
we are about to enter. It must, however, be borne in mind, as has 
already been intimated, that neither Tamil nor any other single dialect, 
ancient or modern, can be implicitly adopted as a faithful representative 
of the primitive Dravidian tongue. A careful comparison of the pecu- 
liarities of all the dialects will carry us up still further, probably up to 
the period of their mutual divergence, a period long anterior to that of 
grammars and vocabularies ; and it is upon the result of such a com- 
parison that most dependence is to be placed. 

Earliest extant Written Relics of the Dravidian Languages. 

The Dravidian words which are contained in the R^m%ana, the 
Mah^-bh^rata, and other Sanskrit poems of undoubted antiquity, are 
so few that they throw no light whatever upon the ancient condition 
of the Dravidian languages prior to the ninth or tenth centuries a.d., 
the earliest date to which any extant Tamil compositions can safely be 

The oldest Dravidian word found in any written record in the world 
appears to be the word for ' peacock ' in the Hebrew text of the Books 
of Kings and Chronicles, in the list of the articles of merchandise 
brought from Tarshish or Ophir in Solomon's ships, about 1000 B.C. 
This word is tuki in Kings, mki in Chronicles. The ordinary name 
at present for the peacock on the Malabar coast and in Tamil is mayil 
(Sans, maytrci); it is also sometimes called siki (Sans. HTchi), a name 
given to it on account of its crest ; but the ancient, poetical, purely 
Tamil-Malayalam name of the peacock is tdlcei, the bird with the 
(splendid) tail. JSikhi = avis cristata; tdhei = avis caudata. The verbal 
root of the word tokei is tok^ or t6k\ tuk or tuk\ to hang ; hence ^ a 
scarf,' ' a skirt border,' is called tokkei. The vowel of the root librates 
between u and : half the derivatives have the one vowel, half the 
other. Hence there is no reason to suppose the Phoenicians in error 
when they represented tuk as the radical part of the word. That the 
vowel is short in Kings and long in Chronicles is also quite in accord- 
ance with the fact that in Tamil-Malay^lam the vowel is sometimes 
short, sometimes long. 

Though tokei, as a verb|,l noun, is a derivative from tok^ or tilk', yet 
the ultimate root appears to have been to or tu. Judging from analogy, 


the final ^' or hu must have been a formative. A primary root with 
this addition becomes a verbal noun, and in the next stage of the 
language this verbal noun becomes in its turn a new, secondary 
verbal root. It is interesting to be able to trace the use of this Tamil- 
Malaydlam formative h' or ku so early as the time of the Phcenician 
trade with India. Max Miiller, speaking of this etymology (Lect. 
p. 209), remarks : " If this etymology be right, it would be an import- 
ant confirmation of the antiquity of the Tamulic languages spoken in 
India before the advent of the Aryan tribes." I have no doubt that 
this etymology is right, and that the inference deduced from it is well 
founded. It may here be added that from the Dravidian tdkei, pro- 
nounced tdgei, would naturally be derived the Arabic tawas, the Greek 
raw;, and ultimately the Latin pavo and our own /Jda-fowl. Minayeff 
has discovered in the Buddhistical writings a reference to voyages made 
by ancient Indian merchants to Babylon (called ' Baverll' - Old Cunei- 
form Persian * Babiru '), in the second of which voyages they took 
thither the first peacock for sale. (See paper by Professor Weber in the 
Indian Antiquary for May 1873). 

Of the names of the other articles of merchandise mentioned in 
Kings and Chronicles, kdf, an ape, has generally been identified with 
the Sanskrit kapi ; and the Greek ^n'Troi, and even the English ajo^, 
have been supposed to have the same origin. It seems more probable, 
however, that the word has been derived from the old Egyptian kdf, an 
ape, a word which Mr Le Page Kenouf informs me is in very common 
use in Egyptian inscriptions, and which he says is to all appearance 
as ancient as the language itself. The origin of the word used for 
' ivory ' {shen habhim, the tooth of the habh) still seems to me some- 
what doubtful. On the whole, the most probable derivation seems to 
be from the old Egyptian ah, ivory. Algum may perhaps be the San- 
skrit valguka, sandal wood, another meaning of which is ' beautiful,' a 
word which seems to be identical with, or derived from, the Tamil- 
Malayajam aragu or alagu, beauty. If so, algum will be more correct 
than almug. The fragrant wood called 'aloes' in Proverbs vii. 17, &c., 
was the Aquilaria Agallocha, the Hebrew word for which, alialim or 
ahaloth, is evidently derived rather from the Tamil-Malay alam form of 
the word, aghil, than from the Sanskrit agaru, though both are ulti- 
mately identical. 

The Greek word ogix^a, rice, must be one of considerable antiquity. 
It dates from the period, whenever that was, when rice was first intro- 
duced from India into Europe ; and it cannot be doubted that we have 
here the Tamil word arisi, rice deprived of the husk, this being the 
condition in which rice was then, as now, bought up in India for 


exportation to Europe. The distinctively Malayalam form of tlie word, 
ari, seems a corruption. 

The earliest Dravidian word in Greek of which we know the date is 
xuptm, Ctesias's name for cinnamon. Herodotus describes cinnamon 
"as the xd^^sa. (dry sticks), which we, after the Phoenicians, call 
xivvdfiu/Mov." Liddell and Scott say, in loc. xdo(poi, plural xccoipta, 
"this word bears a curious resemblance to the Arabic words kerf at, 
kirfak." This resemblance, however, must, I think, be accidental, 
seeing that Herodotus considered ' cinnamon ' alone as a foreign word, 
and that xa^pos is naturally derived from xa'pf w, to wither. The word 
mentioned by Ctesias seems, however, to have a real resemblance to the 
Arabic word, and also to a Dravidian one. Ctesias, the author of the 
earliest Greek treatise on India, describes an odorous oil produced from 
an Indian tree having flowers like the laurel, which the Greeks called 
fivoo^Sda, but which in India was called xd^viov. From Ctesias's descrip- 
tion (making allowance for its exaggerations) it is evident that cinna- 
mon oil was meant, and in this opinion Wahl agrees. Uranius, a 
writer quoted by Stephen of Byzantium, mentions xipvakv as one of 
the productions of the Abas^ni, the Arabian Abyssinians, by which 
we are doubtless to understand not so much the products of their 
country as the articles in which they traded. From the connection in 
which it is found, xspva^ov would appear to be cinnamon, and we can 
scarcely err in identifying with it ker/at, or, more properly, kirfak, 
one of the names which cinnamon has received in Arabic. Some 
Arabic scholars derive kirfak from karafa, ' decortavit ; ' but Mr 
Hassoun does not admit this derivation, and considers kirfak a foreign 
word. We are thus brought back to Ctesias's xdoTiov, or the Indian 
word which xdomov represented. As this is* a word of which we know 
the antiquity, the supposition that the Greeks or Indians borrowed it 
from the Arabs is quite inadmissible. What then is the Indian word 
Ctesias referred to 1 Not, as has been supposed, kurundku, the Sin- 
ghalese name for cinnamon, derived from the Sanskrit kurnnta; but 
the Tamil-Malayalam word karuppu or kdrppu — e.g., karappa-{t)tailam, 
Mai. oil of cinnamon. Other forms of this word are karappic, karuva, 
and karuvd, the last of which is the most common form in modern 
Tamil. Eheede refers to this form of the word when he says that " in 
his time in Malabar oils in high medical estimation were made from 
both the root and the leaves of the karua or wild cinnamon of that 

There are two meanings of karu in Tamil-Malayalam, ^ black' 
and 'pungent,' and the Jp-tter doubtless supplies us with the ex- 
planation of karuppu, ' cinnamon.' A word with a related meaning to 


this is IcaruTclcu, 'a medicinal preparation.' This name may have been 
given to cinnamon from what has been described as ' the sweet burning 
taste ' of the bark, and especially of the oil. Wild cinnamon grows 
freely in Malabar, in the very region in which Ctesias's name for it, 
and the name adopted by the Arabians, is still in use. The cinnamon 
now grown in Ceylon is, it is true, of a much finer quality, but it is 
doubtful whether the cultivation of it had been introduced into Ceylon 
at that early period, and even if it had, it should be remembered that 
Ctesias, who derived all his information about India from Persian and 
Babylonian merchants, seems to have known nothing of Ceylon. I 
have little doubt that the Sanskrit karptlra, * camphor,' is substantially 
the same as the Tamil-Malay^lam karuppu and Ctesias's xdoTiov, seeing 
that it does not seem to have any root in Sanskrit, and that camphor 
and cinnamon are nearly related. The camphor of commerce is from 
a cinnamon tree, the camphora officinarum. If the identity of Ctesias's 
word with the Tamil- Malay alam Jcaruppa be admitted, it follows that 
we have here the earliest Dravidian word quoted by the Greeks, and 
that at that early time Tamil roots were sometimes converted into 
verbal nouns by the addition of the formative pu, as they are at present, 
just as we have seen in the Hebrew tHhi, the alternative formative ku 
or kei, used, as at present, for the same purpose. 

It is a remarkable circumstance that the largest stock of primitive 
Dravidian words contained in any written documents of ancient times 
— the earliest authentic extant traces of the existence of the Dravidian 
languages, as distinguished from Sanskrit — are those which are 
found in the notices of the Greek geographers Ptolemy and the author 
of the "Periplus Maris Erythrasi;" including also the "Natural 
History" of Pliny. Many of the names of places and tribes re- 
corded by those geographers, not long after the commencement of the 
Christian era, are identical, letter for letter, with the names now in 
use. Several of those names have become obsolete, or cannot now be 
identified ; but the signification of the compound words of which they 
consist is generally apparent, and in several of them we can detect the 
operation of some interesting dialectic peculiarity or eu[)honic rule 
which is still characteristic of these languages. I subjoin a few 
examples of Dravidian words of this class recorded by the Greeks, 
beo"inning with the names of Dravidian peoples and princes. 

(1.) 6 navS/wv — h x^oa 'n.a)>bi6vuv {KcLvbmctiv is evidently an error) — 
the Paiidya king and people. This name is, as we have seen, of San- 
skrit origin, and Pandse, the form which Pliny, after Megasthenes, 
gives in his list of Indian nations, comes very near the Sanskrit. The 
more recent local information of Pliny himself, as well as the notices of 


Ptolemy and the Periplus, supply us with the Dravidian form of the 
word. The Tamil sign of the masculine singular is an, and Tamil 
inserts i euphonically after nd, consequently Iia\tbiuiv, and still better, 
the plural form of the word Tlccvhong faithfully represents the Tamil 
masculine singular P^ndiyan. Ptolemy is quite correct in giving the 
same name to the people and their prince. The people were P^ndyas, 
the prince the PUndya, or the P^ndya-d6va. The form of the mas- 
culine singular in ancient Canarese, corresponding to the Tamil an, is 
am ; in Telugu it is udu, so that P^ndiyudu in Telugu answers to 
Pandiyan in Tamil. Consequently we learn, that as early as the 
Christian era, Tamil diflfered dialectically from the other Dravidian 
idioms, and in particular that its mode of forming the masculine sin- 
gular was then the same as it is now. We also learn from the expres- 
sion Mobov^a (3a6/Xsiov Uaydiovig that the PSndyas had transferred their 
capital from Kolkei on the Tamraparni to Madura on the Veigei (or 
Veghavati) before the Christian era. Modovsa itself (in Pliny Modura) 
is the Sanskrit Mathura, pronounced in the Tamil manner. The cor- 
responding city in Northern India, Muttra, is written by the Greeks 

(2.) 6 Kyiso(36dpog. The prince called by this name by Ptolemy is 
called K»37rflo/3oV^o; by the author of the Periplus. The insertion of 
T is clearly an error, but more likely to be an error of a copyist than 
that of the author, who himself had visited the territories of the prince 
in question. He is called Cselobothras in Pliny's text, but one of the 
MSS. gives it more correctly as Celobotras. The name in Sanskrit, 
and in full, is Keralaputra, but both Kera and Kela are Dravidian 
abbreviations of Kerala. They are Malayalam, however, not Tamil 
abbreviations ; and the district over which Keralaputra ruled is that 
in which the Malayalam language is now spoken. 

(3.) ^ojoai vofji^ads; — 'Apkoltov fSao/Xsiov ^ujoa — '^ OoQcvoa ^affiXsiov 2w» 
myoi — HaPuXla ^uorjrojv (or ^oo^r/w) ; also UasaXia TuPiyyuv (which 
should evidently have been Sw^/y/wi', seeing that it included the 
mouth of the river Xa^ri^og). Without entering here on any minute 
topographical discussions with regard to details, it seems evident to 
me that the word Sw^a, which we meet alone and in various combina- 
tions in these notices, represents the name of the northern portion of 
the Tamilian nation. This name is Chola in Sanskrit, Chola in Telugu; 
but in Tamil Sora or Chora. Ptolemy's accuracy, or rather perhaps 
that of his informants, with regard to the name of this people is re- 
markable ; for in Tamil they appear not only as Soras, but also as 
Soragas and Soi'iyas, and ^en as Sdringas ; their country also is called 
Soragam. The r of the Tamil word Sdra is a peculiar sound, not 


contained in Telugu, in which it is generally represented by d, nor in 
Sanskrit and Pali, in which it is represented by d or I. The translitera- 
tion of this letter by the Greeks as ^ seems to show that then, as now, 
the use of this peculiar r was a dialectic peculiarity of Tamil. The 
Indian equivalent of the name of the king Sornax has not survived (as 
those of 6 Uavdiuv and 6 Kr}po^6d^o; have), and it is fruitless to guess 
what it may have been ; but as we know from native poems that the 
name of the ancient capital of the S6ras was Ureiyur (pronounced 
Oreiytir), we may safely identify this name with Ptolemy's "Ophv^a, 
the capital of the liaoa'h'ia iMPYiruiv. 

(4.) 'AfxaroD (SccgiXtiov 2wea. "A^xarof is here represented, not as a 
country, people, or city, but as the name of a prince. As General 
Cunningham has pointed out, Swoa is represented as the name of a 
city, where a king called "A^Karog reigned. Though this was evidently 
Ptolemy's meaning, yet one is strongly tempted to suppose that here 
the names given by the natives of the country to his informants had 
got transposed. The name 2i!;oa is identical with that of the people of 
the district, whom Ptolemy himself calls Sw^a/ vofiadsg, and "A^xaroj 
answers exceedingly well, in situation as well as in sound, to Arcot, 
the capital of the Carnatic in Muhammedan times. There is a distinct 
tradition that the inhaMtants of that part of the Chola or S6ra country 
which lies between Madras and the Ghauts, including Arcot as its 
centre, were Kurumbars or wandering shepherds — nomads — for several 
centuries after the Christian era. General Cunningham objects to this 
identification that Arcot is quite a modern name ; but it must, as 
Colonel Yule has pointed out, be at least as old as 1340 a.d., for it is 
mentioned by Ibn Batuta. The 'name is properly dr'-Md', Tarn, the 
six forests, and the Hindus of the place regard it as an ancient city, 
though not mentioned by name in the Puranas, and point out the * six 
forests ' in which six of the rishis of the ancient period had their her- 
mitages. If this identification be admitted, we have here another 
instance of the antiquity of the dialectic peculiarities of Tamil, for the 
oblique form of the word Md' is Mtf, and the word ordinarily used 
in Telugu for forest is not Md\ but adavi or atavi. 

(5.) Kdoov^a iSaffiXiio]) KrjooScdpov. Karur is mentioned in Tamil 
traditions as the ancient capital of the Ch^ra, Kera, or Kerala kings, 
and is generally identified with Karur, an important town in the Coim- 
batore district, originally included in the Chera kingdom. KarHr 
means the black town, and I consider it identical with Kdragam and 
Kaddram, names of places which I have frequently found in inscrip- 
tions in the Tamil country, and which are evidently the poetical 
equivalents of Karitr. The meaning of each of the names is the 


same. Ptolemy's word Kcloovoa represents the Tamil name of the 
place with perfect accuracy ; kar means black, and ilr (sometimes pro- 
nounced itr-u), a town. Neither of these words seems to have altered 
in the least in sound or signification for 1800 years. 

(6.) Modogalingam nomine, Pliny. I have already, in p. 32, dis- 
cussed the meaning of this name. I add here that if modo be regarded 
as a Telugu word, meaning three, we have here an interesting illustra- 
tion of the antiquity of Dravidian dialectic peculiarities ; for three is 
in Telugu mddu, in Tamil mUtidru, in Canarese mUru, in Tulu milji. 

(7.) Damirice, and also Scytia Dymirice, Peutinger Tables ; Dimi- 
7'ica, in the Bavenna Cosmography, see p. 14. The Dymir of Dymi- 
rice was supposed by Dr Burnell to represent the word Tamir, and if 
so, the Damir of Damirice will come still nearer thereto. The portion 
of the Malabar coast immediately to the north of Dymirice is called, by 
Ptolemy and the author of the " Periplus," "A^/ax>j, and it seems pro- 
bable that this was the district to which the name of Aryaka was given 
by Varaha-mihira several centuries afterwards {Journal of the Royal 
Asiatic Society, vol. v.) It appears probable, therefore, that the difference 
between the Aryans and the Dravidians can be traced in the names 
given by the Greeks to those portions of the Malabar coast which we 
know from other sources of information have always been inhabited by 
Aryans and Dravidians respectively. 

(8.) I content myself with simply noting the following names of 
places on the Malabar coast. Movt^iPig appears to be the Muyiri of 
Muyiri-cotta j Tvvdig is Tundi ; and the Kynda of Nelkynda (or as 
Ptolemy has it MiX-Kvvda, i.e., probably Western Kynda) seems to be 
Kannettri, the southern boundary of Kerala proper. One MS. of Pliny 
writes the second part of this word not cyndon, but canidon. The first 
of these places was identified by Dr Gundert ; for the remaining two 
we are indebted to Dr Burnell. 

(9.) Cottonara, Pliny ; Korrovae/x^, Perip. ; the district where the 
best pepper was produced. It is singular that this district was not 
mentioned by Ptolemy. Cottonara was evidently the name of the 
district ; TLorrovdoiKov^ the name of the pepper for which the district was 
famous. Dr Buchanan identifies Cottonara with Kadatta-nMu, the 
name of a district in the Calicut country celebrated for its pepper. 
Dr Burnell identifies it with Kolatta-nadu, the district about Telli- 
cherry, which he says is the pepper district. Jcadatta, in Malayalam, 
means transport, conveyance; nddu, Tam.-Mal., means a district. 

(10.) Sa'tyaga. The author of the " Periplus " calls by this name 
the canoes formed out of gingle trees, in which pepper was brought 
from Cottonara to Barace. The Malayalam name of these boats is 



changddam^ Tulu jangdla. Compare Sanskrit samghddam, a raft. I 
have never been able to explain xoXa\/di6(pojvTa, tlie name of the large 
vessels that sailed from the western coast to Ceylon and the Ganges. 

(11.) KoTTidooc. This is the name of a place in the country of the 
'A/0/ of Ptolemy, in the UapaXia of the author of the " Periplus," iden- 
tical in part with South Travancore. Apparently it is the Cottora of 
Pliny, and I have no doubt that it is the Cottara of the Peutinger 
Tables. It is not to be confounded with Cottonara, the place men- 
tioned above. It is called by Ptolemy Komoipa MTjr^oTroX/c, and must 
have been a place of considerable importance. The. town referred to is 
probably Kottdr-u, or as it is ordinarily written by Europeans, Kotaur, 
the principal town in South Travancore, and now, as in the time of the 
Greeks, distinguished for its commerce. The name of the place is 
derived from hod-u, Tam.-Mal. a fort, and dr-u, a river. It is a rule 
both in Tamil and in Malayalam that when a word like kod^ is the first 
member of a compound, the final d must be doubled for the purpose of 
giving the word the force of an adjective : it is another rule that son- 
ants when doubled become surds. Consequently the compound kdd.-u 
- dt-u becomes by rule K6tt-dT-u. If the identification of the place 
be correct, as it appears to me to be, we find here an interesting proof 
that in the time of the Greeks the same phonetic rules were in opera- 
tion as now. 

(12.) KoficcPia axpov, Ptol. ; Ko^ticcp, Ko/^aps/, Perip. Cape Comorin 
has derived its name from the Sanskrit kumdri, a virgin, one of the 
names of the goddess Durg^, the presiding divinity of the place ; but 
the shape this word has taken, especially in Kojaao, is distinctively 
Tamilian. In ordinary Tamil ku7ndrt becomes kumdri; and in the 
vulgar dialect of the people residing in the neighbourhood of the 
Cape, a virgin is neither kumdri nor kumdri, but kumdr^ pronounced 
Mmdr. It is remarkable that this vulgar corruption of the Sanskrit 
is identical with the name given to the place by the author of the 
" Periplus." He says, "After this there is another place called Ko,aa^, 
where there is a ^picIp/ov (probably ^povpiov, a fort; hpov is less likely), 
and a harbour, where also people come to bathe and purify them- 
selves, ... for it is related that a goddess was once accustomed 
to bathe there monthly." This monthly bathing in honour of the 
goddess Durga is still continued at Cape Comorin, but is not practised 
to the same extent as in ancient times. Kumari formerly ranked as 
one of the five renowned sacred bathing places, a representation which 
accords with the statement of the author of the " Periplus." Through 
the continued encroachments of the sea, the harbour the Greek mari- 
ners found at Cape Comorin, and the fort (if that were meant) have 


completely disappeared ; but a fresh- water well remains in the centre 
of a rock a little way out at sea. It is singular that Cape Comorin 
does not appear in any shape in the Peutinger Tables. 

(13.) Ila^aXia. There are three Paralias mentioned by the Greeks, 
two by Ptolemy (the Paralia of the Soreti, and the Paralia properly so 
called, that of the Toringi), one by the author of the " Periplus." The 
Paralia mentioned by the latter corresponded to Ptolemy's country of 
the "A/0/ and that of the Kagso/, that is, to South Travancore and South 
Tinnevelly. It commenced at the Red Cliffs, south of Quilon, and 
included not only Cape Comorin, but also KoX^oi, where the pearl fish- 
ing was carried on, and which belonged to King Pandion. Dr Burnell 
identifies UasaXla. with Purali, which he states is an old name for Tra- 
vancore, but I am not quite able to adopt this view. It is true that, 
if the Greeks found any part of the Travancore coast called Purali, they 
would naturally proceed to convert that name into a word of their own, 
bearing an intelligible and appropriate meaning; but, on the other 
hand, it is not clear that any part of the coast was ever called by that 
name. Purali is stated by Dr Gundert (" Malayalam Dictionary" in 
loc.) to be the name of a fort belonging to the old kings of Kdttaya- 
gam in the interior. Hence PuralUan, lord of Purali, was one of the 
titles of those kings. This title is now poetically applied to the kings 
of Travancore ; but it seems probable that it was adopted by them at 
a comparatively late period, on their gaining possession of the territory 
to which the title belonged, in the same manner as they adopted the 
title of Vanji-bhilpati, lord of Vanji, a name of Karur, the ancient Chera 
or Kerala cjipital. It is also to be remembered that the Paralia of the 
" Periplus " included not only the coast of South Travancore, but also 
the coast of Tinnevelly as far as Kolkei. It appears to me, therefore, 
that Ua^aXia is to be taken as a Greek word, though possibly it may 
have corresponded in meaning, if not in sound, to some native word 
meaning coast. This will appear probable from the next item. 

(14.) 01 Kaoioi . The Carei of Ptolemy inhabited the southern por- 
tion of Tinnevelly, between Cape Comorin and Kolkei ; consequently 
their country constituted the eastern portion of the Paralia of the 
"Periplus." Karei is the Tamil word for coast or shore, from the verbal 
theme ka7'ei, to be melted down, to be washed away, and is obviously 
identical in meaning with the Greek UaoaXia. Up to the present time 
several portions of the Tinnevelly coast (including that part where I 
have myself lived and laboured for more than thirty years) are called 
Karei, the coast, or Karei-{ch)chuttru, the coast circuit, and a caste of 
fishermen further north aife called Kareiydr, coast-people. There can- 
not be any doubt that the last portion of two names of places men- 


tioned by Ptolemy represents the Tamil Jcarei^ coast^ viz., KaXataa^lag 
and TLspiyxa^sT. If the latter word had been written Us^wyx-apsT, it 
would have been perfectly accurate Tamil, letter for letter. The mean- 
ing is great shore ; and perum, great, becomes perung before Ic by rule. 
perum itself, instead of peru, is a distinctively classical form. 

(15.) ri lu'kriv. The Tamraparni, the chief river in Tinnevelly, must 
be the river intended to be denoted by Ptolemy by this name, for it is 
the only river mentioned by him between Cape Comorin and the Kav^ri, 
and it entered the sea south of Ko'Xp/o/, the emporium of the pearl 
trade, which was certainly at the mouth of the Tamraparni. It is diffi- 
cult, however, to explain how it came to be called Sw?.^!/. This word 
means in Greek a shell-fish, a mussel ; and it seems uncertain whether 
the Greeks called the river by this name, because the native name 
of it somewhat resembled this, or because of the fishing for chanks, as 
well as pearls, then as now, carried on at its mouth. The name by 
which the river seems always to have been called in India is Tamra- 
parni, a name which bears no resemblance whatever to Solen. In 
Tamil poetry it is often called the Porunei, which is merely a Tamil- 
isation of the second portion of its Sanskrit name. Tdmraparnt 
Sans., would naturally mean the tree with red or copper leaves; 
applied to a river, it would seem to mean the river which resembles 
a red leaf. It is called by this, name in the Mah^-bharata, though 
whether the passage in which it is mentioned is older than Ptolemy 
may be regarded as uncertain. The name T4mra-parnl being identical 
with the oldest name of Ceylon — Tambapanni in P^li, Ta'7r^6(Sav7) in 
Greek — it might have been supposed, if the river had been called by 
this name in the time of the Greeks, that they would have called it 
the Taprobane, the name by which they called Ceylon. Solen cannot 
have any connection with Sylaur, erroneously represented in Lassen as 
the name of the principal tributary of the Tamraparni. This tributary 
is called the Chitra-nadi, commonly the Chitt^r, which means in Tamil 
the small river, and it is physically impossible that it ever can have 
been, as Lassen conjectured, the principal stream, the mountain dis- 
trict it drains being very much smaller than that which the Tamra- 
parni drains. 

(16.) Bi^rriyu). This, according to Ptolemy, was the name of the 
mountain range in which the '^uXtiv — the Tamraparni — took its rise, 
in addition to two rivers on the western coast, the Bcco/j and Itfeudoff- 
TOfMog. The mountain range meant is evidently that of the Southern 
Ghauts — that is, the range of mountains stretching from the Coim- 
batore gap to Cape Comorin. The Tamraparni rises in a beautiful 
conical mountain included in this range, visible from the mouth of the 


river, and visible also from ILoX-xoi, the emporium frequented by the 
Greeks. Wlien the Greeks asked where the river took its rise, they 
would naturally be directed to this conspicuous mountain, and on learn- 
ing its name would naturally give the same name to the whole range. 
This mountain is commonly called by the English Agastier — that is, 
the rishi Agastya's hill — Agastya being supposed to have finally retired 
thither from the world after civilising the Dravidians ; but the true 
Tamil name of the mountain is Podigei, pronounced Pothigei (the Podi- 
yam of the poets) or Feria (the greater) Podigei^ in contradistinction to 
a smaller mountain in the same neighbourhood. The root meaning of 
podi being ' to cover,' * to conceal,' podigei may have meant * a place 
of concealment ; ' but, whatever may have been its meaning, it seems 
to come as near the Greek B/jrr/yw as could be expected. 

(17.) KoX^oi efM'TTooiov. This place is mentioned both by Ptolemy 
and by the author of the " Periplus," both of whom agree in represent- 
ing it as the headquarters of the pearl-fishery, and as belonging to King 
Pandion. It was the first place east of Cape Comorin frequented by 
the Greeks, and was situated to the north of the river Solen. It is 
one of the few places in India mentioned in the " Peutinger Tables," 
where it is called ' Colcis Indorum.' From the name of this place the 
Gulf of Manaar was called by the Greeks the Colchic Gulf. The 
Tamil name of the place is almost identical with the Greek. It is 
Kolkei; and though this is now euphonically pronounced Korkei, 
through the change of I before k into r by rule, yet it is still pronounced 
Kolka in Malay alam, and I have found it written Kolkei in an old 
Tamil inscription in the temple at Trichendoor. Doubtless it was so 
pronounced in the time of the Greeks, when euphonic refinements could 
not have advanced very far. Korkei is well known in Tamil traditions 
as the place where the germs of civil government made their first appear- 
ance amongst the Tamilians — the government set up in common by 
the three mythical-patriarchal brothers, Sevan, Soran, and Pdndiyan. 
Vira-R^ma, the poet-king, one of the later P^ndyas, in a little poem 
called " Vettri-v^rkei," styles himself Korkei{y)dli — that is, ' ruler of 
Korkei.' This place is now about three miles inland, but there are 
abundant traces of its having once stood on the coast^ and I have found 
the tradition that it was once the seat of the pearl-fishery still surviving 
amongst its inhabitants. After the sea had retired from KoX^oi, in 
consequence of the silt deposited by the river, a new emporium arose 
on the coast, which was much celebrated during the middle ages. This 
was Kayal (meaning in Tamil ' the lagoon '), the Gael of Marco Polo. 
(See Colonel Yule's ''Marco Polo," vol. ii.) Kayal in turn became in 
time too far from the sea for the convenience of trade, and Tuticorin 


{TUttrulcudi) was raised instead by the Portuguese from the position 
of a fishing village to that of the most important port on the southern 
Coromandel coast. The pearl-oyster has nearly disappeared now, I 
am sorry to say, from the coast, and the staple trade of Tuticorin has 
long been, not pearls, but cotton. The identification of K6X-)(oi with 
Kolkei is one of much importance. Being perfectly certain, it helps 
forward other identifications. Kol in Tamil means 'to slay;' Icei, is 
'hand.' The meaning of Kolkei, therefore, is 'the hand of slaughter,' 
which is an old poetical term in Tamil for ' an army,' ' a camp,' the 
first instrument of government in a rude age. In so far as the two 
words included in this name are concerned, the Tamil language does 
not seem to have altered in the slightest from that day to this. The 
junction of the words has been euphonised, but the words themselves 
remain the same. 

(18.) Kw^y. Ptolemy describes Kw^u as an island in the Argaric 
Gulf, or Palk's Straits. Elsewhere he describes it as a promontory, 
and correctly, for it was both — if it is to be identified, as I have no 
doubt it is, with E^m^svaram, a long narrow island terminating in a 
long spit of land. The bay between Point Calymere and the island 
of Eamesvaram is called ' Eama's bow,' and each end is called Dhanu 
Mti, ' the tip of the bow,' or simply Jcdti (in Tamil Jcddi), ' the tip,' * end,' 
or * corner.' The most celebrated of the two Jcodis was that at Elira^s- 
varam, and this word kodi would naturally take the form of Jcori or 
Mru. The ease with which this change might take place is shown by 
the fact that it is this very word koti which is meant when we speak 
of the high number called by the English a crore. It is remarkable 
that the Portuguese, without knowing anything about the Kwpu of the 
Greeks, called the same spit of land Cape Eamanacor^i, 

(19.) KaXXr/ixov. According to Ptolemy, Kupv, the Eamesvaram 
spit of land, was also called KaXXiymov, but it seems probable that he 
was mistaken in this identification, and that we are to understand by 
KaXXiyiTiov the promontory called Calingon by Pliny, by which it 
appears to me that Point Calymere was meant. The circumstance that 
there were two places called Ku^v — that is, two ends of the bow — one 
of which was at Point Calymere, seems to show how Ptolemy's infor- 
mants may have come to speak of Koj^v as also called KaXX/y/xoV. The 
Tamil name of Point Calymere is Kalli-medu, — that is, ' the euphorbia 
eminence,' — and it seems probable that the Greek KaXki and the Tamil 
Jcalli are identical. 

(20.) KuXig. In the various Greek and Eoman geographers prior 
to the time of Ptolemy, the name KwX/; occupies an important place. 
It appears first (in the shape of an appellative) in Strabo, who speaks 


of Ceylon as seven clays' sail from the southernmost part of India, the 
inhabitants of which he calls Kw>./a/co/ ; but it is probable that Strabo 
herein follows Onesicritus, a writer ,three centuries older, who repre- 
sented Ceylon (Taprobane) as twenty days' sail from the same place. 
Pomponius Mela calls it Colis. Pliny, who reduces the number of 
days' sail from Ceylon to four, calls the place Coliacum, and describes 
it as the promontory of India which was nearest Ceylon, between which 
and it there was a shallow coral sea. Dionysius Periegetes, who brings 
KuiXig into greater prominence than any other writer, transfers to it 
(by a poetical licence) the description of Aornis near the Indus, given 
by the writers of Alexander's period, and gives to Ceylon itself a name 
which seems to be derived from KuiXig — viz., JLuXiag. In Ptolemy 
KuXfg disappears, and Kcoov, a name previously unknown, comes up 
instead. I have no doubt that the words KuXig and Kupv are iden- 
tical, and that the places denoted by these names were one and the 
same — viz., the island-promontory of P^m^svaram, the point of land 
from which there was always the nearest access from Southern India 
to Ceylon. The geographical knowledge of the present time might 
naturally wish to identify KwX/j with Cape Comorin, as the southern- 
most point of India; but in the times preceding Ptolemy (e.ff., in the 
"Peutinger Tables") what we now call Cape Comorin was not known 
to be a cape ; and the Cape Comorin of the period (that is, wliat was 
supposed to be the southernmost point of the Indian continent) was 
Koti, or Pamesvaram, the point from which the passage to Ceylon 
(Rama's or Adam's bridge, the Ma'bar of the Arabians) was most 
easily made. I do not consider KoJXig a corruption of Kuyj. On the 
contrary, I regard both names as equally representing the same word. 
Kdti, ' the end of the bow,' ' the angle,' — that is, the angle or corner 
of the bay (the Argaric Gulf) lying between Point Calymere and the 
island of REimesvaram. Pomponius Mela regarded it as an ' angulus,' 
not of that bay merely, but of India, viewed as a whole. He supposed 
it to be the termination towards the east of the southern coast, which 
extended thus far in a straight line nearly due east and west from the 
Indus ! K&X/-g seems to me somewhat nearer the Indian original 
Koti or Kddi, than K%y ; and the change of the Sanskrit d into the 
Tamilian r or I, we have already seen exemplified in the change of the 
d of Dravid into the r or I of Tamir or Tamil. 

(21.) Main, quorum Mons Maleus ; Pliny. This mountain seems 
to have been to the north of the country of the Calingas, and General 
Cunningham identifies it with Mahendra Male in Ganjam. It is 
difficult to determine the situation of the places in India mentioned 
in Pliny ; but it seems certain that, wherever the Mons Maleus may 


have been, its name embodied the well-known Dravidian word (which 
we see also in the Sanskrit Malaya) malei, ' a mountain.' The name 
of the people was probably derived from the same word, and signified, 
like the Tamil maleiyar and the K^jmah^l Mdler or Malcr, ' moun- 

(22.) It may be noticed that the rendering of the Sanskrit Buddha 
by Clemens Alexandrinus as Bourra, and his rendering of the Sanskrit 
sramana (Buddhistic ascetics) by l.i[Lvoi, accord better with the Tamil 
forms of these words {Putta and ^amana) than with the Sanskrit 

(23.) It is remarkable how many names of places in Southern India 
mentioned by Ptolemy end in oxjo or ovoa, '■ town.' There are twenty- 
three such places in all. The following are examples : — SaAou^, Ko^s- 
oypa, Hobo'TTS^ovoa, HccXovpcc, 'Agg/x/Soiii', MayouP, MatiriTTOus, K.ooivdtQ-JP. 
In addition to these there is Ka^o-j^a mentioned already. It is scarcely 
possible to doubt that Uobo'^TSPouoa means pudu-per-ilr, 'new great- 
town;' or UaXoupu, pdl-Hr, 'milk-town.' Probably a letter or two 
in the rest may have been changed, so that we cannot be quite certain 
what they meant, except the places should be identified, which has not 
yet been done ; but they sound wonderfully Tamil-like. The conjunc- 
tions of consonants {nt, nd, mh, tt) are exactly such as Tamil loves. 

Some of the names of places mentioned by Ptolemy prove that the 
Brahmans had by that time established themselves at various points 
in the Carnatic, and given names to some of the. principal localities. 
M6h\}pa, Madura, is a Sanskrit word ; so also is TLavbim, the king's 
name. Xd^i>}^og, ' the yellow river,' the Kavert, is claimed by Sanskrit, 
though possibly Dravidian. There is no doubt that JLofidpia, Cape 
Comorin, is Sanskrit ; and probably Kojpv is Sanskrit also. Ptolemy 
says that Brahmans (Boap/.aam/ Mayo/) dwelt in the country under the 
mountain Byjrriyuij smd as far as the country of the Baro/ — sv oJs itoKk; 
rjds, Bpdy^fLYi. Can this B^d')(^(i7i be Brahmadesara, an ancient town on 
the Tamraparni, not far from the foot of the Podigei mountain, which 
I have found referred to in several ancient inscriptions 1 

At a later period than that of Ptolemy by several centuries, when 
the Indian trade had passed from the hands of the Greeks to those of 
the Persians, Cosmas Indico-pleustes, in his " Christian Topography," 
furnishes some interesting particulars respecting Ceylon and the Malabar 
coast, included in which he preserves for us a few Tamil words. I 
have already mentioned his name for the Malabar coast — MaXs, the 
mountain region. He gives also the names of five places on the 
Malabar coast from which pepper was exported, three of which end in 
crarai/a, ' town,' a word which, though found in Sanskrit, is, I think, 


Dravidian origin ; and of these, one (Uovbo'Trdirava) gives us the 
distinctively Tamil vrord pudu, new. There is still on the same coast 
a town called by this name, which, like many other ^ Newtons,^ must 
be a town of considerable antiquity, seeing that it has long been 
regarded by native authorities as the northern boundary of Kerala 
proper and of true Kerala usages. This fitaMha of Cosmas is slightly 
more correct than the 'Koh^i of Ptolemy's <7rodo'7rsoovoa. Colonel Yule 
(Bombay Antiquary for August 1874) identifies the place with the 
' Bodfattan ' of Ibn Batuta, and the ' Peudefitania ' of Nicolo Conti. 

Though the Greek geographers have not given us any information 
respecting the languages of India, beyond what little is furnished by 
the names of places contained in their works, the information derived 
from those lists is exceedingly interesting. The earliest extant traces 
of the Dravidian languages which possess reliable authority, are those 
with which we have been famished by the ancient Greeks ; and from 
an examination of the words which they have recorded, we seem to be 
justified in drawing the conclusion, not only that the Dravidian lan- 
guages have remained almost unaltered for tke last two thousand years, 
but probably also that the principal dialects that now prevail had a 
separate existence at the commencement of the Christian era, and pre- 
vailed at that period in the very same districts of country in which we 
now find them. The art of writing had probably been introduced, the 
grammar of the Dravidian languages had been fixed, and some progress 
made in the art of composition before the arrival of the Greek mer- 
chants ; '^ and the extraordinary fixity with which those languages 

* The arrival in India of those Grecian merchants appears to have been con- 
temporaneous with the conquest of Egypt by the Romans. The earliest Roman 
coins found in India are those of the reign of Augustus. A large number of 
Roman imperial aurei were found some years ago on the Malabar coast ; upwards 
of thirty types of which, commencing with the earlier coins of Augustus, and 
including many of Nero, were described by me in a paper published at Trivand- 
rum in 1851 by the Rajah of Travancore, to whom the coins belonged. 

It may be desirable to mention here the approximate dates of the Greek and 
Roman geographical writers referred to above. 

B.C.— Herodotus 420 ; Ctesias 400 ; Onesicritus 325 ; Megasthenes 300. 

A.D.— Strabo 20; Pomponius Mela 50; Pliny 77 ; Periplus Maris Erythraei 
80 ; Dionysius Periegetes 86 ; Ptolemy 130 ; Arrian 150 ; Clemens Alexandriuus 
200 ; Eusebius 320 ; Festus Avienus 380 ; Marcian 420 ; Cosmas Indicopleustes 
535; Stephen of Byzantium 560; Ravennatis Anonymi Cosmographia, 7th 
century ; Georgius Syncellus 800 ; Eustathius, the commentator on Dionysius 
]"'eriegetes, 12th century ; Uranius, a writer quoted by Stephen of Byzantium, 
date unknown. The date of the Peutinger Tables is unknown, but an examina- 
tion of the Asian segment of those tables convinces me that the author could not 
have had any acquaintance wi|,h Ptolemy, and therefore probably lived at an 
earlier period. 


appear to have been characterised ever since that period is in accord- 
ance with the history of all other Asiatic languages, from the date of 
the commencement of their literary cultivation. 

If the Dravidian family of languages is allied, as I think it may be 
believed to be in the main, to the Scythian families, it may justly 
claim to be considered as one of the oldest congeners of the group. 
With the exception of the language of the Behistun tablets, no words 
belonging to any distinctively Scythian language can be traced up to 
the Christian era. Mr Norris says, "I know of nothing written in 
the Magyar language earlier than the fifteenth century, and of the 
other Ugrian languages we have nothing above fifty or sixty years old. 
The great Finnish heroic poem, the ' Kalevala,' may be of any age, but 
as it appears to have been brought down to us only by word of mouth, 
it has naturally varied, like all traditional poetry, with the varying 
forms of the language." The Uigurs or Oriental Turks acquired the 
art of writing from the j^estorian Christians, the Mongolians from the 
Uigurs ; so that the literary cultivation of neither of those languages 
can be compared in poii^ of antiquity with that of the Dravidian. 
Amongst the earliest records of the Scythian tongues that have been 
discovered, is a brief list of words recorded by the Chinese as peculiar 
to the old Turks of the Altai ; and of eight words contained in this 
list, all of which are found in the modern dialects of the Turkish, pro- 
bably three, certainly two, are Dravidian. Those words as given by 
the Chinese are : — 

Turkish of the Altai. 

Modern Turkish. 









kon, or ko. 

I am strongly inclined to consider the last Tamil word, kdn or kd, to 
be identical with the kdn, khdn, or klidgan of the Turko-Mongolian 
languages. The Ostiak, an Ugrian dialect, has khon. In the old Tamil 
inscriptions I have invariably found kd or kdn instead of the Sanskrit 
rdjd : but the word has become obsolete in modern Tamil, except in 
compounds, and in the honorific caste title kdn, assumed by shepherds. 
This conjunction of meanings (king and shepherd) is very interesting, 
and reminds one of the Homeric description of kings as rroifihig Xauv. 

The Tamil literature now extant enables us to ascend, in studying 
the history of the language, only to the ninth or tenth century, a.d. : 
the Dravidian words handed down to us by the Greeks carry us up, as 
we have seen, to the Christian era. Beyond that period, the compari- 
son of existing dialects is our only available guide to a knowledge of 


the primitive condition of the Dravidian language. The civilisation of 
the Tamil people, together with the literary cultivation of their lan- 
guage, may have commenced about the sixth or seventh century, B.C., 
but the separation of the primitive Dravidian speech into dialects 
must have taken place shortly after the arrival of the Dravidians in 
the districts they at present inhabit — an event of unknown, but cer- 
tainly of very great antiquity. The Irish and the Welsh dialects of 
Celtic, the Old High and the Old Low dialects of Teutonic, and the 
Finnish and Magyar dialects of Ugrian, had probably become sepa- 
rate and distinct idioms before the tribes by which those dialects 
are spoken settled in their present habitations ; but the various 
Dravidian dialects which are now spoken appear to have acquired a 
separate existence subsequently to the settlement of the Dravidians in 
the localities in which we now find them. Supposing their final settle- 
ment in their present abodes in Southern India to have taken place 
shortly after the Aryan irruption (though I think it probable that it 
took place before), every grammatical form and root which the various 
dialects possess in common, may be regarded as at least coeval with 
the century subsequent to the arrival of the Aryans. Every form and 
root which the Brahui possesses in common with the Dravidian tongues 
may be regarded as many centuries older still. The Brahui analogies 
enable us to ascend to a period anterior to the arrival in India of the 
Aryans (which cannot safely be placed later than 1600 B.C.) ; and 
they furnish us with the means of ascertaining, in some degree, the 
condition of the Dravidian languages before the Dravidians had finally 
abandoned their original abodes in the central tracts of Asia. 

Political and Social Eelation of the Primitive Dravidians to 
THE Aryan and Prje- Aryan Inhabitants of Northern India. 

The arrival of the Dravidians in India must have been anterior to 
the arrival of the Aryans, but there is some difficulty in determining 
whether the Dravidians were identical with the aborigines whom the 
Aryans found in possession of the northern provinces, and to whom the 
vernacular languages of Northern India are supposed to be indebted 
for the non-Sanskritic elements they contain, or whether they were a 
distinct and more ancient race. The question may be put thus : — Were 
the Dravidians identical with the Dasyus, by whom the progress of the 
Aryans was disputed, and who were finally subdued and incorporated 
with the Aryan race as their serfs and dependents 1 or were they a race 
unknown to the Aryans of tj^e first age, which had already left, or been 
expelled from. Northern India, and migrated southwards towards the 


extremity of the peninsula before the Aryans arrived? This question 
of the relation of the Dravidians to the Aryanised aborigines of Nor- 
thern India is confessedly involved in obscurity, and can be settled 
only by a more thorough investigation than any that has yet been made 
of the relation of the Dra vidian languages to Sanskrit, the Prakrits, 
and the northern vernaculars. We may, indeed, with tolerable safety 
regard the Dravidians as the earliest inhabitants of India, or at least 
as the earliest race that entered from the JNTorth-West ; but it is not so 
easy to determine whether they were the people whom the Aryans 
found in possession and conquered, or whether they had already, before 
the arrival of the Aryans, moved on southwards out of the northern 
provinces, or been expelled from those provinces by the prse-historic 
irruption of another race. Some inquirers have held the identity of 
the Dravidixans with the primitive Sudras ; and something may be said 
in support of this hypothesis. I am not competent to pronounce a 
decided opinion on a point which lies so far beyond my own province, 
but the differences which appear to exist, and which I have already 
pointed out, between the Dravidian languages and the non-Sanskritic 
under-stratum of the northern vernaculars induce me to incline to the 
supposition that the Dravidian idioms belong to an older period of 
speech. If this supposition is correct, it seems to follow that the pro- 
genitors of the Scythian or non-Aryan portion of the Sudras and mixed 
classes now inhabiting the northern provinces must have made their 
way into India subsequently to the Dravidians, and also that the Dra- 
vidians must have retired before them from the greater part of Northern 
India, ere they were in their turn subdued by a new race of invaders. 
By whomsoever the Dravidians were expelled from Northern India — if 
they ever were really expelled — and through what causes soever they 
were induced to migrate southward, I feel persuaded that they were 
never expelled by the Aryans. Neither the subjugation of the Cholas, 
Pandyas, and other Dravidians by the Aryans, nor the expulsion from 
Northern India by the Aryans of the races who afterwards became 
celebrated in the South, as Pandyas, Cholas, Keralas, Kalingas, Andh- 
ras, &c., is recognised by any Sanskrit authority, or any Dravidian 
tradition. Looking at the question from a purely Dravidian point of 
view, I feel convinced that the Dravidians never had any relations 
with the primitive Aryans but those of a peaceable and friendly char- 
acter ; and that if they were expelled from Northern India, and forced 
to take refuge in Gondvana and Dandak^ranya — the great Dravidian 
forest — prior to the dawn of their civilisation, the tribes that subdued 
and thrust them southwards must have been prse- Aryans. 

Those, prse- Aryan Scythians, by whom I have been supposing the 



Dravidians to have been expelled from the northern provinces, are not , 
to be confounded with the Kols, Santals, Bhtls, Doms, and other abori-s»/ 
ginal tribes of the North. Possibly these tribes had fled into the for- 
ests from the Dravidians prior to the prae- Aryan invasion, just as the 
British had taken refuge in Wales before the Norman conquest. It \ 
is also possible that the tribes referred to had never crossed the Indus 
at all, or occupied Northern India, but had entered it, like the BhM^n 
tribes, by the North-East, and had passed from the jungles and swamps 
of lower Bengal to their present abodes — taking care always to keep 
on the outside of the boundary line of civilisation. At all events, we 
cannot suppose that it was through an irruption of those forest tribes 
that the Dravidians were driven southwards ; nor does the non-San- 
skritic element supposed to be contained in the northern vernaculars 
appear to accord distinctively with the peculiar structure of the Kola- 
rian languages. The tribes of Northern India whom the Aryans gran 
dually incorporated in their community, as S'udras, whoever they were, 
must have been an organised and formidable race. They may have 
been identical with the '■ ^Ethiopians from the East,' who, according to v 
Herodotus, were brigaded with other Indians in the army of Xerxes, 
and who differed from other ^Ethiopians in being ' straight-haired.' 

I admit that there is a diflSculty in supposing that the Dravidians, 
who have proved themselves superior to the Aryanised Sudras of Nor- 
thern India in mental power, independence, and patriotic feeling, 
should have been expelled from their original possessions by an irrup- 
tion of the ancestors of those very Sudras. It is to be remembered, 
however, that the lapse of time may have effected a great change in 
the warlike, hungry, Scythian hordes that rushed down upon 'the first 
Dravidian settlements. It is also to be remembered that the dependent 
and almost servile position to which this secondary race of Scythians, 
was early reduced by the Aryans, whilst the more distant Dravidians 
were enjoying freedom and independence, may have materially altered 
their original character. It is not therefore so improbable as it might 
at first sight appear, that after the Dravidians had been driven across 
the Vindhyas into the Dekhan by a newer race of Scythians, this new 
race, conquered in its turn by the Aryans and reduced to a dependent 
position, soon sank beneath the level of the tribes which it had ex- 
pelled ; whilst the Dravidians, retaining their independence in the 
southern forests into which they were driven, and submitting eventually 
to the Aryans, not as conquerors, but as colonists and instructors, gra- 
dually rose in the social scale, and formed communities and states in 

the extreme South, rivalling those of the Aryans in the North.* 

• — — ■ 

* DeTchan is a corruption of the Sanskrit dakshina, the south, literally, the 


Mr Curzon {Journal of the Royal Asiatic Societu, vol. xvi.) attempted 
to meet the difficulty I heave stated by supposing that the Tamilians 
were never in possession of Arya-varta, or Northern India, at all ; but 
that they were connected with the Malay race, and came to Southern 
India by sea, from the opposite coast of the Bay of Bengal, or from 
Ceylon. This theory seems, however, perfectly gratuitous ; for it has 
been proved that the languages of the G6nds and Kus are Dravidian 
equally with Tamil itself ; that the Oraon and the R^jmahM are also 
substantially Dravidian ; and that Brahui partakes so largely of tlie 
same character (not to speak of the language of the Scythic tablets of 
Behistun), as to establish a connection between the Dravidians and the 
ancient races west of the Indus. It has also been shown that in the 
time of Ptolemy, when every part of India had long ago been settled 
and civilised, the Dravidians were in quiet possession, not only of the 
south-eastern coast, but of the whole of the peninsula, up nearly to the 
mouths of the Ganges. 

It is undeniable that immigrations from Ceylon to the southern 
districts of India have occasionally taken place. The Tiyars (properly 
Ttvdrs, islanders) and the Iravars, Singhalese (from Iram, Ceylon, 
a word which appears to have been corrupted from the Sanskrit 
Simhalam, or rather from the Pali Sihalam, by the omission of the 
initial s), both of them Travancore castes, are certainly immigrants 
from Ceylon; but these and similar immigrants are not to be con" 
sidered as Singhalese, in the proper sense of the term, but as off- 
shoots from the Tamilian population of the northern part of the 
island. They were the partial reflux of the tide which peopled the nor- 
thern and western parts of Ceylon with Tamilians. Bands of maraud- 
ing Tamilians (Sdlis, Pdndis, and other Damilos — i.e., Cholas, Pandyas, 
and other Tamilians) frequently invaded Ceylon, as we are informed by 
the Maha-wanso, both before and subsequently to the Christian era. 

right {dexter), an appellation which took its rise from the circumstance that the 
Brahman, in determining the position of objects, looked towards the East, which 
he called pHrva, the opposite region, when whatever lay to the southward was 
necessarily to the right. The South was to the primitive Dravidian what the 
East was to the Brahman. He called it ten, of which the meaning in Tamil is 
* opposite ; ' whilst the North was vada (the north-wind vd^ei), which is probably 
connected with vdd-u, to wither — the north wind being regarded by Tamilians 
with as much dread as the south wind (mythologically the car of Kdma, the 
Indian Cupid) was associated with the idea of everything that was agreeable. 
Referring to the physical configuration of the Carnatic, the Dravidians called the 
East ' downward ; ' the West, the region of the Ghauts, ' upward.' The cocoa- 
nut, tennei, Tam. seems to mean 'the southern tree,' this tree having been 
brought, according to tradition, from Ceylon. IVJr C. P. Brown derives tenkdya, 
cocoa-nut, from tenTci, covert, shell, and kdya (Tam. kdy), fruit. 


On several occasions tliey acquired supreme power, and at length per- 
manently occupied the northern provinces of the island. There is no 
direct affinity, however, between the Singhalese language — the language 
of the Singhalese, properly so-called, who appear to have been colonists 
from Magadha — and the language of the Tamilians ; nor is there any 
reason for supposing that the natural course of migration (viz., from the 
mainland to the island) was ever inverted to such a degree as to justify 
the supposition that the whole mass of Dra vidians entered India from 
Ceylon. Dr Gundert's suggestion, mentioned in p. 24, is better capable 
of being defended than Mr Curzon's, but is also, as it appears to me, 
encumbered with greater difficulties than the ordinary theory. 

Oeiginal Use and Pkogressive Extension of the Term 'S'touA.' 

The mass of the Dravidians are now so commonly designated S'tldras, 
especially by Brahmans and those Europeans who take their caste nomen- 
clature from Brahmans, and the Dravidians themselves are so generally 
content to be called by this name, that it cannot but be regarded as 
a remarkable circumstance that they were originally designated, without 
distinction or exception, as Kshatriyas, by the highest and most 
ancient authorities in such matters — viz., Manu and the Mah^-bharata. 
The references will be found in Muir's 'Sanskrit Texts,' vols, i., ii., 
in which will also be found extracts from various genealogical lists 
in which the Dravidians are represented to be the descendants of 
Kshatriya princes. It is true that they are represented also as having 
fallen from the rank of Kshatriyas into the condition of vrishalas, 
* outca sts or Sudras,' by the neglect of Brahmanical rites; but this 
does not affect the statement made regarding what was supposed to 
have been their original condition. However remarkable this state- 
ment may be, in consequence of its contrariety to more modern ideas, 
its ethnological value must be admitted to be very small, seeing that 
not only are the S'akas, a Scythian race, and the Chinas, or Chinese, 
of all Mongolians the most Mongolian, described as originally Kshat- 
riyas, equally with the Dravidians, but both they and the Dravidians 
are placed in the same category with the Yavanas or Greeks, of all 
Aryans the most normally Aryan. Perhaps the chief value of the 
statement consists in the proof it furnishes that the Dra vidian inhabi- 
tants of the southern part of the peninsula were regarded from the 
earliest times as occupying a very different position from that attri- 
buted to the Nishadas and other rude forest tribes (some of whom- 
at least seem to have been^equally Dravidians in origin) inhabiting the 
forests and hilly ranges in Central India, and occasionally disturbing 


the contemplations and interrupting the sacrifices of holy risliis. The 
latter are generally described as vile sinners, as ugly and uncouth as 
they -were savage. Possibly also vi^hen we read of the r^khasas or 
giants so frequently met with by the rishis and epic heroes, we are to 
understand merely an irreconcilably hostile portion of those aboriginal 
tribes ; whilst those of them that showed a friendly disposition, like 
Rama's allies, are half praised, half ridiculed, as intelligent monkeys — 
by an interesting anticipation of the Darwinian theory ; according to 
which the monkey progenitors of the human race will have to be sought 
for in the tropics, probably in India. It is doubtful whether even the 
rude Dravidian and Kolarian tribes of Central India ever deserved to 
be described in such terms ; but the fact that the Pandyas, Cholas, and 
other Dravidian races were represented at the same time as having 
been originally, not r^kshasas or monkeys, but Kshatriyas, equally with 
the Solar and Lunar princes of Aryan India, proves conclusively that 
they at least were considered almost as civilised and as occupying 
almost as respectable a position as the orthodox Aryans themselves. 

The term ' S'Mra,' which is now the common appellation of the mass 
of the inhabitants of India, whether Gaurians or Dravidians, has been 
supposed to have been originally the name of a tribe dwelling near the 
Indus. Lassen recognises their name in that of the town 2vd§og on 
the lower Indus ; and especially in that of the nations of the ^vdsoi 
in Northern Arachosia. He supposes them to have been, with the 
Abhiras and Nish^das, a black, long-haired race of aborigines, not 
originally a component part of the Aryan race, but brought under its 
influence by conquest ; and that it was in consequence of the S udras 
having been the first tribe that was reduced by the Aryans to a 
dependent condition, that the name ' S'udra ' was afterwards, on the 
conquest of the aborigines in the interior part of the country, extended 
to all the servile classes. Whatever may have been the origin of the 
name ' S'udra,' it cannot be doubted that it was extended in course of 
time to all who occupied or were reduced to a dependent condition ; 
whilst the name 'Dasyu' or 'Ml^chcha' continued to be the appella- 
tion of the unsubdued, non-Aryanised tribes. 

Most writers on this subject seem to suppose that the whole of the 
S'fidras, or primitive, servile classes of Northern India, to whom this 
name was progressively applied, belonged to a different race from their 
Aryan conquerors. Whilst I assent to every other part of the supposi- 
tion, I am unable to assent to the universality of this. It seems to 
me to be probable that a considerable proportion of the servants, 
dependents, or followers of the Aryans belonged from the first to the 
Aryan race. As the Slavonian serfs are Slavonians, and the Magyar 



serfs Magyars, there is no improbability in the supposition tliat a large! j 

number of the Aryan serfs or S'tldras (perhaps at the outset the major- \ 

ity) were Aryans ; and I cannot on any other supposition account for ) 

tlie fact that so large a proportion of the component materials of the \ 

Prakrits and northern vernaculars is Sanskrit.' \ 

The supposition of the Aryan origin of a large number of the S'fidras, 1 

seems also most in accordance with the very old mythological state- i 

ment of the origin of the Sudras from Purusha's or Brahma's feet ; for 
though the Br^hmans, Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas, the twice-born classes,*] /^. JoUA 
are represented as springing from more honourable parts of the body,! / J JL 
yet the S'tidras are represented to have sprung from the same divinity , | ^ ^ 

though from an ignoble part; whereas the Nishadas, or barbarian! Av^Wt^ 
aborigines, are not represented to have sprung from Brahma at all,) fyt^^^^^tJi 
but formed what was called in later times a ' fifth class,' totally uncon- 
nected with the others. It appears probable from this mythological 
tradition that the S'tidras were supposed in the first ages to differ from 
the 'twice-born ' Aryans in rank only, not in blood. I regard as con- 
firmatory of this view the statement of Manu that * all who become^ 
outcasts are called Dasyus, whether they speak the language of the 
Ml^chchas or that of the Aryans : ' for in the same manner, all who 
enjoyed the protection of the Aryans, as their dependents and servants, 
would naturally receive a common appellation, probably that of 
S'Udras, — whether, as aborigines, they spoke ' the language of Ml^ch- 
chas,'(the non-Aryan vernacular,) or whether, as Aryans of an inferior 
rank in life, they spoke 'the language of Aryans, '(a colloquial dialect 
of Sanskritj, It is true that the three twice-born castes alone are called 
Aryans by the S'atapatha-Brahraana of the Rigveda: but as 'the four 
classes,' including the Sudras, but excluding the Dasyus and NishMas, 
are. distinctly referred to in the Vedic hymns; as outcast Aryans are 
styled ' Dasyus ' by Manu ; and as the higher classes of the Tamilians 
monopolise the national name in this very manner, and pretend that 
the lower classes of their race are not Tamilians, I think that we may 
safely attribute the statement in question (in part, at least) to the 
pride of ' the twice-born.' Even the Vr^tyas, who are distinguished 
from the S'tidras, and are regarded as an inferior class, did not differ 
from the Br^hmans in language, and must, therefore, have been Aryans. 

The aboriginal non- Aryan inhabitants of India seem to have been' 
subdued, and transformed from Dasyus and Mlechchas into S'tidras, by 
slow degrees. In the age of Manu, they retained their independence 
and the appellation of ' Mlechchas ' in Bengal, Orissa, and the Dekhan ; 
but in the earlier period re^rred to in some of the historic legends of 
the Mah^-bh^rata, we find the Mlechchas and Dasyus disputing the 



possession of Upper India itself with tlie Aryans. Sagara, the thirty- 
fifth king of the Solar dynasty, is related to have laboured in vain to 
subdue the heterodox aborigines residing on or near his frontier : and 
in the reign preceding his, in conjunctioiy^with certain tribes connected 
with the Lunar line, those aborigines had succeeded in overrunning 
his territories.* V 

The introduction of the Dravidians wifthin the pale of Hinduism 
appears to have originated, not in conquest, but in the peaceable pro- 
cess of colonisation and progressive civilisation. There is no tradition 
extant of a warlike irruption of the Aryans into Southern India, or of 
the forcible subjugation of the Dravidians ; though, if such an event 
ever took place, some remembrance of it would probably have survived. 
All existing traditions, and the names by which the Brahmanical race 
is distinguished in Tamil — viz., Eiyar, fathers, instructors, and 
Pdrpjydr, overseers (probably the iiriGxo'Trot of Arrian) — -tend to show 
that the Brahmans acquired their ascendafTcy'by their intelligence and 
their administrative skill. 

* Sagara, finding himself unable to extirpate or enslave those heterodox tribes, 
entered into a compromise with them, by imposing upon them various distin- 
guishing marks; by which, I think, we may understand their obstinate per- 
sistence in the use of the distinguishing marks to which they had been accus- 
tomed. One of those marks is worthy of notice in an inquiry into the relations 
of the early Dravidians. "The P^radas," it is recorded, ''wore their hair long 
in obedience to his commands." Professor Wilson observes, with reference to 
this statement (in his notes on the Vishnu Purdna), " What Oriental people wore 
their hair long, except at the back of the head, is questionable ; and the usage 
would be characteristic rather of the Teutonic and Gothic nations." The usage 
referred to is equally characteristic of the Dravidians, Up to the present day the 
custom of wearing the hair long, and twisted into a knot at the back of the head, 
is characteristic of all the more primitive castes in the southern provinces of the 
Tamil country, and of some of the castes that occupy a more respectable position 
in society. In ancient times this mode of wearing the hair was in use amongst 
all Dravidian soldiers ; and sculptured representations prove that at a still earlier 
period it was the general Dravidian custom. The K6tas of the Nilgherry Hills 
wear their hair in the same manner. The Tudas wear their hair long, but without yf- 
confining it in a knot. Probably it was from the Dravidian settlers in Ceylon 
that the Singhalese adopted the same usage ; for as early as the third century A.D., 
Agathemerus, a Greek geographer, describing Ceylon, says, "The natives cherish 
their hair as women among us, and twist it round their heads." There are 
pictures, Dr Gundert informs me, in the early Portuguese books of voyages, 
representing the Tivdr and other Malay^lam castes, in which they invariably 
appear with long hair. The wearing of the hair long appears to have been re- 
garded by the early Dravidians as a distinctive sign of national independence : 
whilst the shaving of the hair of the head, with the exception of the sikhd or 
Jcudumi, the lock at the back of the head, corresponding to the tail of the Chinese, 
seems to have been considered as a sign of Aryanisation, or submission to Aryan 
customs, and admission within the pale of Aryan protection. 


The most adventurous immigrations from Northern India to the 
Dekhan were those of the oifshoots of the Lunar dynasty, a dynasty 
wl^ich originated from the Solar, and whose chief city Ayodhya, Oude, 
was the traditional starting point of most of their migrations. The 
P^ndya kings of Madura were feigned to have sprung from the Lunar 
line. The title ' Pandya ' is derived, as has already been mentioned, 
p. 16, from the name of the Pandavas of Northern India, the cele- 
brated combatants in the great war of the Mah^-bh^rata, to whom every 
Cyclopean work of unknown antiquity is traditionally ascribed. This 
derivation of the name of P^ndyas is doubtless correct ; but there is 
very little reason to suppose that the kings of Madura, by whom this 
name was assumed, sprang from any of the royal dynasties of Northern 
India. The marriage of Arjuna to a daughter of the second king of the 
Pandyan dynasty, whilst on his travels in the South, according to the 
Mah^-bh^rata, falls far short of proving (what it is sometimes sup- 
posed to prove) that the Pandya kings were Kshatriyas. Besides, 
what are we to conclude from Arjuna's abandonment of his Pandyan 
bride shortly afterwards, according to the same story ? The Aryan 
immigrants to the South appear to have been generally Br^hmanical 
priests and instructors, rather than Kshatriya soldiers ; and the kings 
of the P^ndyas, Choi as, Kalingas, and other Dravidians, appear to have 
been simply Dravidian chieftains, whom their Br^hmanical preceptors 
and spiritual directors dignified with Aryan titles, and taught to imi- 
tate and emulate the grandeur and cultivated tastes of the Solar, Lunar, 
and Agni-kula races of kings.* In later times we may see the progress 

* A similar opinion respecting the relation that subsisted between the Aryans 
and the early Dravidians was expressed by Professor Max Miiller (" Keport of 
British Association for 1847"). *' Wholly different from the manner in which the 
BrS,hmanical people overcame the north of India, was the way they adopted of 
taking possession of and settling in the country south of the Vindhya. They did 
not enter there in crushing masses with the destroying force of arms, but in the 
more peaceful way of extensive colonisation, under the protection and counte- 
nance of the powerful empires in the north. Though sometimes engaged in wars 
with their neighbouring tribes, these colonies generally have not taken an offen- 
sive but only a defensive part ; and it appears that, after having introduced 
Br^hmanical institutions, laws, and religion, especially along the two coasts of the 
sea, they did not pretend to impose their language upon the much more nume- 
rous inhabitants of the Dekhan, but that they followed the wiser policy of adopt- 
ing themselves the language of the aboriginal people, and of conveying through its 
medium their knowledge and instruction to the minds of uncivilised tribes. In 
this way they refined' the rude language of the earlier inhabitants, and brought it 
to a perfection which rivals even the Sanskrit. By these mutual concessions, a 
much more favourable a^imilation took place between the Aryan and aboriginal 
race ; and the south of India^ uecame afterwards the last refuge of Brdhmanical 
science, when it was banished ^rom the north by the intolerant Mahommedans. 


of a similar process in Gondvana, where we find that Gond chieftains 
have learned from their Brahman preceptors, not only to style them- 
selves R^j^hs, but even to assume the sacred thread of the ' twice-born' 
Kshatriyas. The gradual transformation of these semi-barbarous chief- 
tains into Kshatriya princes (see Appendix : Dravidian physical type) 
shows how the P^ndya and Ch61a chieftains of the South may 
originally have been Dravidian Poligars {Pdleiyahkdran, the holder of 
a pdleiyam, a feudal estate), like those of Eamnad and Puducottah in 
later times, and may in process of time have risen in rank as in power, 
assuming as they did so the Kshatriya titles of Deva, Varma, &c., and 
finally, in some instances at least, succeeding in getting themselves 
recognised as Kshatriyas by the original Kshatriyas of the North. 

Whilst it is evident that the entire mass of the Dravidians were 
regarded by Manu and the authors of the Mah^-bh^rata and the Puranas 
as Kshatriyas by birth, it is remarkable that the Br^hmans who settled 
amongst the Dravidians and formed them into castes, in imitation of 
the castes of the North, seem never at any time to have given the Dra- 
vidians — with the exception perhaps of the royal houses — a higher title 
than that of S'tadra. They might have styled the agricultural classes 
Vaisyas, and reserved the name of S'tidra for the village servants and 
the unenslaved low castes ; but acting apparently on the principle that 
none ought to be called either Kshatriyas or Vaisyas but Aryans, and 
that the Dravidians were not Aryans, they seem always to have called 
them Sudras, however respectable their position. 

In consequence of this the title Sudra conveys a higher meaning in 
Southern than in Northern India. The primitive S'tidras of Northern 
India seem to have been slaves to the Aryans, or in a condition but 
little superior to that of slaves. They seem to have had no property 
of their own, and can scarcely be said to have had any civil rights. In 
Southern India, on the contrary, it was upon the middle and higher 
classes of the Dravidians that the title of ' S'lidra' was conferred ; and 
the classes that appeared to be analogous to the servile S'udras of 
Northern India, were not called ' S'udras, but ' Pallas,' ' Pareiyas,' &c., 
names which they still retain. The aj^plication of the term * S'udra ' to 
the ancient Dravidian chieftains, soldiers, and cultivators does not 
prove that they had ever been reduced by the Br^hmans to a dependent 
position, or that they ever were slaves — as the northern S'iidras appear 

It is interesting and important to observe how the beneficial influence of a higher 
civilisation may be effectually exercised, without forcing the people to give up 
their own language and to adopt that of their foreign conquerors, a result by 
which, if successful, every vital principle of an independent and natural develop- 
ment is necessarily destroyed." 


to have been — to any class of Aryans. The Br^hraans, who came in 
* peaceably, and obtained the kingdom by flatteries,' may probably have^jy^^ /3^4u/ 
persuaded the Dravidians that in calling them S'udras they were con- 7^ ^ L 
ferring upon them a title of honour. If so, their policy was perfectly .^^^ / 
successful; for the title of 'S'Adra' has never been resented by the"> y . \ 
Dravidian castes ; and hence, whilst in Northern India the Sudra ^^j^^^^^x 
supposed to be a low-caste man, in Southern India he generally ranks '•^^^^ •] 
next to the Brahman. The term S'^dra, however, is really, as we have \ 

seen, as inappropriate to any class of Dravidians as the term Kshat- ^ 

riya or Vaisya. It is better to designate each Dravidian caste simply J 

by its own name, as Vellalas, Nayakkas, &c., in accordance with the ; 

usage prevailing amongst the people themselves in each locality, \ 

without attempting to classify the various castes according to Manu's ; 

principles of classification, which in reality are quite inapplicable to j 

them, if not, indeed, equally inapplicable to the castes now existing in \ 

the north. 

Pk^-Aryan Civilisation of the Dravidians. 

Though the primitive Dravidians were probably unacquainted with 
the higher arts of life, they do not appear to have been by any 
means a barbarous and degraded people. Whatever may have been 
the condition of the forest tribes, it cannot be doubted that the 
Dravidians, properly so called, had acquired at least the elements of 
civilisation, prior to the arrival amongst them of the Brahmans. 

If we eliminate from the Tamil language the whole of its Sanskrit 
derivatives, the primitive Dravidian words that remain will furnish us 
with a faithful picture of the simple, yet far from savage, life of the 
non-Aryanised Dravidians. Mr Curzon holds that there is nothing in 
the shape of a record of the Tamil mind which can recall to us any- 
thing independent of an obvious Sanskrit origin ; and that^if the con- 
trary supposition were tenable, we ought to find the remains of a 
literature embodying some record of a religion different from Hinduism. 
Traces of the existence amongst the non-Aryanised Dravidians, both 
ancient and modern, of a religion different from Hinduism, will be 
pointed out in the Appendix. At present I will merely adduce those 
records of the primitive Tamil mind, manners, and religion which the 
ancient vocabularies of the language, when freed from the admixture 
of Sanskrit, will be found to furnish. 

From the evidence of the words in use amongst the early Tamilians, 
we learn the following items of information. They had ' kings,' who 
dwelt in ' strong houses,^ and ruled over small 'districts of country.' 


They had * minstrels/ who recited * songs ' at ' festivals,' and they 
seem to have had alphabetical ' characters ' written ^yith a style on 
palmyra leaves. A bundle of those leaves was called ' a book \ they were 
without hereditary ' priests ' and * idols,' and appear to have had no 
idea of 'heaven' or 'hell,' of the 'soul' or 'sin;' but they acknow- 
ledged the; existence of God, whom they styled Ico, or king — a realistic 
title little known to orthodox Hindliism. They erected to his honour 
a ' temple,' which ,they called K^-il, God's-house ; but I cannot find 
any trace of the nature of the ' worship ' which they offered to him. 
They had ' laws ' and ' customs,' but no lawyers or judges. Marriage 
existed among them. They were acquainted with the ordinary metals, 
with the exception of ' tin,' ' lead,' and ' zinc ;' with the planets which 
were ordinarily known to the ancients, with the exception of ' Mercury' 
and ' Saturn.' They had numerals up to a hundred, — some of them to 
a thousand \ but were ignorant of the higher denominations, a ' lakh ' 
and a ' crore.' They had ' medicines,' but no ' medical science,' and 
no ' doctors ; ' hamlets ' and ' towns,' but no ' cities ; ' ' canoes,' ' boats,' 
and even ' ships ' (small ' decked ' coasting vessels), but no foreign 
'commerce;' no acquaintance with any people beyond sea, except in 
Ceylon, which was then, perhaps, accessible on foot at low water ; and 
no word expressive of the geographical idea of ' island ' or ' continent.* 
They were well acquainted with ' agriculture,' and delighted in ' war.* 
They were armed with ' bows' and ' arrows,' with ' spears ' and ' swords.* 
All the ordinary or necessary arts of life, including ' spinning,' ' weav- 
ing,' and ' dyeing,' existed amongst them. They excelled in * pottery,' 
as their places of sepulture show, but were unacquainted with the arts 
of the higher class. They had no acquaintance with ' sculpture ' or 
' architecture ;' with ' astronomy,' or even ' astrology ;' and were igno- 
rant, not only of every branch of 'philosophy,' but even of 'grammar.' 
Their undeveloped intellectual condition is especially apparent in words 
relating to the operations of the mind. Their only words for the 
' mind ' were the ' diaphragm ' (the (p^v of the early Greeks), and * the 
inner parts ' or ' interior.' They had a word for ' thought,' but no 
word distinct from this for ' memory,' 'judgment,' or ' conscience ; ' and 
no word for ' will.' To express ' the will ' they would have been 
obliged to describe it as ' that which in the inner parts says, I am 
going to do so and so.' 

This brief illustration, from the primitive Tamil vocabulary, of the 
social condition of the Dravidians, prior to the arrival of the Brdhmans, 
will sujffice to prove that the elements of civilisation already existed 
amongst them. They had not acquired much more than the elements ; 
and in many things were centuries behind the Br^hmans whom they 


revered as instructors, and obeyed as overseers : but if they had been 
left altogether to themselves, it is open to dispute whether they would 
not now be in a better condition, at least in point Of morals and 
intellectual freedom, than they are. The mental culture and the higher 
civilisation which they derived from the Br^hmans, have, I fear, been 
more than counterbalanced by the fossilising caste rules, the unprac- 
tical, pantheistic philosophy, and the cumbersome routine of inane 
ceremonies, which were introduced amongst them by the guides of 
their new social state. 

Probable Date of Aryan Civilisation of the Dravidians. 

It would appear from the unanimous voice of ancient legends that 
the earliest Dravidian civilisation was that of the Tamilians of the 
Pandya kingdom, and that the first place where they erected a city and 
established a state was Kolkei, on the T^mraparnl river (see p. 101),' 
near the southern extremity of the peninsula. This civilisation was 
probably indigenous in its origin, but it seems to have been indebted 
for its rapid development at so early a period to the influence of a suc- 
cession of small colonies of Aryans, chiefly Br^hmans, from Upper India, 
who were probably attracted to the South by the report of the fertility 
of the rich alluvial plains watered by the K^v^ri, the T^mraparni, and 
other peninsular rivers ; or as the legends relate, by the fame of 
Kama's exploits, and the celebrity of the emblem of S'iva, which E^ma 
discovered and worshipped at Ramisseram, or R^mesvaram, a holy 
place on an island between the mainland and Ceylon. The leader of 
the first or most inj&uential Br^hmanical colony is traditionally said to 
have been Agastya, a personage who is celebrated in Northern India as 
one of the authors of the Vedic hymns, then as the holiest of hermits, 
performing sacrifices and austerities in the remotest forests, and ever- 
more penetrating farther and farther into the hitherto unknown South. 
In the South he is venerated as the earliest teacher of science and 
literature to the primitive Dravidian tribes. It is very doubtful 
whether Agastya (if there ever were such a person) was really the 
leader of the Brahman immigration ; more probably he is to be con- 
sidered as its mythological embodiment. ' The Vindhya mountains,' 
it is said, ' prostrated themselves before Agastya j ' by which I under- 
stand that they presented no obstacle to his resolute southward 
progress ; for he is said to have penetrated as far south as the vicinity 
of Cape Comorin. He is called by way of eminence the Tamir muni, 
or Tamilian sage, and is celebrated for the influence he acquired at the 
court of Kulasekhara, according to tradition the first Pandyan king, and 


for the numerous elementary treatises lie composed for the enlighten- 
ment of his royal disciple ; amongst which his arrangement of the 
grammatical principles of the language has naturally acquired most 
renown. He is mythologically represented as identical with the star 
Canopus, the brightest star in the extreme southern sky in India, and 
is worshipped near Cape Comorin as Agast^svara. By the majority of 
orthodox Hindus he is believed to be still alive, though invisible to 
ordinary eyes, and to reside somewhere on the fine conical mountain, 
commonly called ' Agast'ya's hill,' from which the Porunei or Tamra- 
parni, the sacred river of Tinnevelly, takes its rise. (See p. 100.) 

The age of Agastya and the date of the commencement of the Br^h- 
manical civilisation of the Tamilians cannot now be determined with 
certainty ; but data exists for making an approximate estimate. It 
was certainly prior to the era of the Greek traders, for then the greater 
part of the country appears to have been already Br^hmanised, the 
principal places had received Sanskrit names, and the P^ndya dynasty 
of kings had become known even in Europe. It seems as certainly 
subsequent to the era described in the Ramayana ; for then the whole 
of the south of India seems to have been still inhabited by barbarians, 
who ate human flesh, consorted with demons, and disturbed the con- 
templations of hermits. The age of Agastya is apparently to be placed 
between those two eras. If we could be sure that the references to the 
civilised Cholas, Dravidas, &c., which are contained in the present text 
of the Maha-bharata, formed originally part of that poem, the era of the 
commencement of Tamilian civilisation, and the date of the Agastyan 
colony from which it proceeded, might be brought within a still nar- 
rower compass, and placed between the age of the E^mayana and that 
of the Maha-bharata. The genuineness of those references, and their 
age, if genuine, being as yet doubtful, and the era of Manu (in which 
there is an allusion to the Chinese, under the name of Chinas, which, 
like a similar allusion to the Chinas in the Mah^-bharata, looks very 
modern) being generally now placed lower than ever, it is hard to say 
where we are to look for trustworthy means of arriving at an approxi- 
mate date. At first sight Ceylon seems to furnish us with the infor- 
mation required. The immigration into Ceylon of the colony of 
Aryans from Magadha, headed by Vijaya, is placed by the Mahawanso 
about B.C. 550, or at least some time in the course of that century; 
and if this were regarded as certain, it might be argued that the 
Aryans must have become acquainted with, and formed establishments 
in, the Dekhan and the Coromandel coast, and must have taken some 
steps towards clearing and civilising the Dand,akaranya, or primitive 
forest of the peninsula, before they thought of founding a colony ia 


Ceylon. We have no documentary evidence, however, for any of these 
particulars earlier than the date of the composition of the Mah^wamso, 
which is placed between 459 and 477 a.d. Though the date of the 
arrival in Ceylon of the colony from Magadha is uncertain, it is (juite 
certain that some such colony must have arrived in Ceylon several 
centuries before the Christian era. This appears from the evidence of 
language. T^mraparni (in Pali T^mbapanni) was the name given by 
the Magadha colonists to the place where they landed in Ceylon (said 
to have been near Putlam), and afterwards to the whole island. This 
name, in the shape of Ta'7^^o/3a^>J, became known to the Greeks as early 
as the time of Alexander the Great, and it is singular that this is also 
the 'name of the principal river in Tinnevelly on the opposite coast of 
India. (See p. 100.) This river Tamraparni is mentioned by name 
in the Mah^-bh^rata as a river in which the gods bad once bathed, and 
it is evident from this reference to it in the Maha-bh^rata that it must 
have been known by that name from a very early period, and that there 
must have been some special reason for its celebrity. We are led, 
therefore, to infer that the Magadha colony which settled in Ceylon 
may previously have formed a settlement in Tinnevelly, at the mouth 
of the T^mraparnt river — perhaps at Kolkei, which appears, as we 
have already seen, to have been the earliest residence of the P^ndya 
kings. Vijaya, the leader of the expedition into Ceylon, is related in 
the Mah^-wanso to have married the daughter of the king of P^ndi ; 
and though it may be doubtful enough whether he really did so (for 
on the same authority we might believe that he married also the queen 
of the Singhalese demons) ; this at least is certain, that it was the per- 
suasion of the earliest Singhalese writers, who were, on the whole, the 
most truthful and accurate of oriental annalists, that the P^ndyan 
kingdom on the coast of India opposite to Ceylon (the first kingdom 
established on Aryan principles in the peninsula) existed prior to the 
establishment of the Magadha rule in the neighbouring island. 

Dr Burnell, in an article in the Indian Antiquary for October 1872, 
attributes the introduction of Brahmanical civilisation to a much later 
period. He thinks it not too much to infer that about 700 a.d. (the 
date of Kumarila-bhatta, who speaks of the language of the Telugu 
and Tamil people as a language of Mlechchas), Brahmanical civilisation 
had but little penetrated the south of India. " Br^hmans had, no 
doubt, begun to find the South a promising field of labour, but there 
could have been very few settlers." . . , " I do not mean," he says, " to 
deny for a moment that a few Sanskrit names are found some centuries 
earlier in South India, such as are preserved to us by classical writers, 


but they occur only in the fertile deltas or important seaports of the 
South, and were probably introduced by Buddhist missionaries." A 
distinction may perhaps be drawn between the elementary Brahmanical 
civilisation of the era of the introduction of which I have been treating 
and the development of Dravidian literature. There is no proof of 
Dravidian literature, such as we now have it, having originated much 
before Kum^rila's time, 700 a.d., and its earliest cultivators appear to 
have been Jainas ; but in so far as that species of civilisation which 
falls short of a national literature is concerned, the Dravidians may 
have been civilised, as I have supposed, and perhaps even to a certain 
degree Br^hmanised, some centuries before the Christian era. Doubt- 
less the Jainas themselves used Sanskrit in Southern as in Northern 
India at the commencement of their work as teachers (probably for a 
century or two), before they set themselves to the task of developing 
amongst each of the Dravidian races a popular literature independent 
of the language of their rivals the Br^hmans. The early Sanskrit 
names of places in Southern India, with two exceptions, are neither 
Buddhistical nor Brahmanical, but simply descriptive. One of those 
exceptions, however, Knmdri, Cape Comorin, is clearly Brahmanical, 
not Buddhistical, as appears from the statement of the author of the 
"Periplus" himself; and the other, Mathurd, Madura, is evidently a 
reminiscence of Mathurd, the capital of the Y^davas— and therefore of 
Brahmanical origin. 

It seems probable that Aryan merchants from the mouth of the 
Indus must have accompanied the Phoenicians and Solomon's servants 
in their voyages down the Malabar coast towards Ophir (wherever 
Ophir may have been), or at least have taken part in the trade. If 
Mr Edward Thomas's supposition (Journal of the Royal Asiatic 
Society, 1871) that the basis of the Mt character of Northern India 
was a previously existing Dravidian character, and Dr Burnell's (see 
" Dravidian Alphabets "), that the earliest character used in India 
was one which was borrowed by the Dravidians from traders who 
brought it from the Red Sea, and which was then borrowed by the 
Aryans from the Dravidians, be accepted, this early intercourse of the 
Dravidians with Phoenicians on the one hand, and with Aryans on 
the other, may account in some degree both for what they borrowed 
and for what they lent. Both those suppositions, however, await 
confirmation. It appears certain from notices contained in the Vedas 
that the Aryans of the age of Solomon practised foreign trade in 
ocean-going vessels, but it remains uncertain to what ports their ships 


Eel ATI VB Antiquity of Dra vidian Literature. 

Notwithstanding the antiquity of Dravidian civilisation, the anti- 
quity of the oldest Dravidian literature extant is much inferior to that 
of Sanskrit. It can boast of a higher antiquity than that of any of 
the Aryan vernaculars of Northern India ; but, except in this connec- 
tion, and in comparison with the literature of the modern languages of 
Europe, it is questionable whether the word ' antiquity ' is a suitable 
one to use respecting the literature of any of the Dravidian languages. 

Age of Telugu Literature. — The earliest writer on Telugu grammar 
is said to have been a sage called Kanva, who lived at the court of 
Andhra-r^ya, the king in whose reign Sanskrit is said to have been 
first introduced into the Telugu country, according to the tradition 
formerly mentioned. For this tradition there is probably a historical 
groundwork, the introduction of Sanskrit derivatives being necessarily 
contemporaneous with the immigration of the Br^hmans ; and the 
statement that the first attempt to reduce the grammatical principles 
of the language to writing proceeded from a Brahman residing at the 
court of a Telugu prince, is a very reasonable one. Kanva's work, if 
it ever existed, is now lost j and the oldest extant work on Telugu 
grammar (which is composed, like most Telugu grammars, in Sanskrit) 
was written by a Brahman called Nannaya Bhatta, or Nannappa, who 
is also said to be the author of the greater part of the Telugu version 
of the Mah^-bh^rata, which is the oldest extant composition of any 
extent in Telugu. Nannappa lived in the reign of Vishnu Vardhana, 
a king of the Kalinga branch of the Chalukya family, who reigned at 
Kajamundry. The reign of this king is placed by Mr A. D. Campbell 
about the commencement of the Christian era ; but Mr C. P. Brown, 
in his Cyclic tables, places it, on better authority, in the beginning of the 
twelfth century a.d. Appa-kavi, who ranks next to Nannaya Bhatta 
as a grammarian, wrote his commentaries not in Sanskrit, but in Telugu 

With the exception of a few works composed towards the end of the 
twelfth century, nearly all the Telugu works that are now extant appear 
to have been written in the fourteenth and subsequent centuries, after 
the establishment of the kingdom of Vijaya-nagara ; and many of them 
were written in comparatively recent times. Though the Telugu litera- 
ture which is now extant cannot boast of a high antiquity, the language 
must have been cultivated and polished, and many poems that are now 
lost must have been written in it long prior to the twelfth century — 
the date of Nannaya's translation of the Maha-bharata : for as this 
translation is considered * the great standard of Telugu- poetry,' it 


cannot be supposed to have sprung into existence all at once, without 
the preparation of a previous literary culture. It must have been the 
crowning achievement of several centuries of earnest work. 

There is a large collection of popular Telugu aphorisms on religious 
and moral subjects attributed to the poet Vemana : more than two 
thousand go by his name, but a selection of about seven hundred has 
been translated by Mr C. P. Brown, who supposes Vemana may have 
lived in the sixteenth century. If, as I conceive, the strongly mono- 
theistic, anti-Brahmanical, anti-ceremonial tone with which most of the 
aphorisms are pervaded, is due, like the same tone in the poems of 
the Tamil ' Sittar ' (which will be referred to presently), to the influence 
of Christian teaching, I should be inclined to place Vemana at least a 
century later, perhaps even as late as the beginning of the eighteenth 
century. In style his verses do not differ from the popular composi- 
tions of the present day.* 

Age of Ganarese Literature. — Much new light has been thrown on 
the antiquity of Canarese literature by the publication of the S'abda- 
manidarpanam (''Jewel-Mirror of Words"), the most ancient and 
esteemed grammar of classical Canarese, written by Kesava or Kesi- 
raj^, in the preface to which the editor, Mr Kittel, has carefully 
worked out an answer to various questions that naturally suggest 
themselves to the modern mind respecting the authorship of the book 
and its date. Kesava was a Jaina, and the Jainas were the first to 
cultivate Canarese literature with zeal and success. Most of the poets 
he cites were Jainas, and if it be true that the earliest Jaina literature 
written in Northern India dates from the fourth century a.d., several 
additional centuries must be allowed for the appearance of an indi- 
genous Jaina literature in so distant a region as the Canarese country. 
Kesava cites eleven predecessors in the art of poetry by name, besides 
referring to others, and styles them frequently ' the poets of antiquity,' 
' the ancients,' &c. He speaks of certain compositions as written in 
Pala-Gannadam, ancient Canarese, whilst he calls the language used 
by himself simply Canarese, though his language is regarded as ancient 
Canarese now. Already also the use of the peculiar vocalic r, which 
is retained in Tamil and Malay^lam, was beginning to be forgotten in 
Canarese, for he gives rules for its use, whilst he gives no rules for the 
use of the hard r, which disappeared from Canarese in still later times, 
though it is still retained in Tamil and Malay^lam, and to a certain 
extent in Telugu. Both these letters are retained in the Badaga 

* See Gover's "Folk-Songs of Southof-n India." Mr Gover was inclined to 
attribute to Vemana a much higher antiquity. 


dialect, an old Canarese patois spoken by the Badagas of the Neil- 
gherry hills, a Canarese colony long separated from the parent stock. 
These circumstances tend to bring down Kesava's date to at least 
1000 A.D. It is brought down to about this date more conclusively 
by means of a reference made by a poet cited by Kesava to ' the burn- 
ing sword of Tailapa.' The dynasty of the Ch^tlukyas, to which 
Tailapa belonged, reigned in Kaly^na from about 800 a.d. to 1189, 
when it was extinguished ; and the Tailapa probably referred to (the 
warlike Tailapa II.) restored the dynasty in 973 a.d. Kesava does 
not cite the Basava-Purana, which is known to have been written in 
1369 A.D., and therefore, probably, was anterior to it. He is men- 
tioned by name as a famous author in a book written in 1637 a.d. 
The Hari-va?7i8a had been translated into Canarese before Kesava 
wrote ; but though the poets whose works he cites in illustration of 
his rules, were well acquainted with the incidents and characters of the 
Maha-bb4rata and the lUmayana, these works do not appear to have 
been rendered into Canarese at that time. On the whole, therefore, but 
especially from the reference to Tailapa, Mr Kittel concludes that 
Kesava lived about 1170 a.d., a period which, as will be seen, was 
one of great literary activity in the Tamil country also. It is a 
remarkable fact that at the time when Kesava wrote, ' Sanskrit words 
in a fixed form, either as tatsamas or tadbhavas, apparently to the same 
amount as in our days, had already been appropriated by the Canarese 
people.' Kesava's work is still the only true standard for all the nice- 
ties of the Canarese of the present day, the essential features of the 
language having remained wholly unchanged. In the Indian Antiquary 
for January 1875, Mr Kittel has followed up this account of Kesava 
and his times by an article on old Canarese literature in general, under 
the four heads of Jaina, Lingliita,- S'aiva, and Vaishnava. 

Age of Malay dlam Literature. — Interesting as the Malay alam lan- 
guage undoubtedly is, both in itself and on account of the light it throws 
on the point of development which had been reached by Tamil before 
Malayalam finally separated from it and set up for itself, it must be 
confessed that Malayalam literature can advance fewer claims to anti- 
quity than the literature of any other cultivated member of the Dravi- 
dian family. The following is the substance of the information on this 
subject given us by Dr Gundert, our best authority as to Malayalam 
questions, in the preface to his Malayalam dictionary. If we except 
a few inscriptions in copper and stone, the history of Malayalam 
literature commences with the "K^ma Charita," which is probably 
the oldest Malayalam poem still in existence. This poem was com- 
posed before the introduction of the Sanskrit alphabet now used in 


writing Malayfilam, and is deserving of the particular attention of the 
scholar, as it exhibits the earliest phase of the language, — perhaps 
centuries before the arrival of the Portuguese. For several antiquated 
words this poem is the only authority. The bulk of the other great 
poems (the " M^ha-bh^rata," the "Ramayana," and the versions of 
the Pur^nas) were composed within the last two or three cen- 
turies. Many Malayalam compositions of later date, especially such 
as are current among the Vedantists, evidently affect Tamil modes 
of expression. 

Age of Tamil Literature. — Tamil literature is older than Telugu or 
Canarese, and considerably older than Malayalam, though the high 
antiquity which is ascribed to some portions of it by the Tamilian 
literati cannot be admitted. 

The sage Agastya occupies in Tamil literature a place of still 
greater eminence and importance than that of Kanva in Telugu. 
Not only is the formation of the Tamil alphabet attributed to Agastya, 
and the first treatise upon Tamil grammar, together with the original 
settlement of the grammatical principles of the language ; but he is 
also said to have taught the Tamilians the first principles of medicine, 
of chemistry or alchymy, of magic, of architecture, astronomy, and 
law ; and about fifty treatises on these sciences, most of. them appa- 
rently very modern* are attributed to his pen. Portions of the treatise 
on grammar attributed to him exist, but their authenticity is not gene- 
rally admitted by well-informed Tamilians, who are peculiarly well 
versed in questions relating to grammar and grammatical works. 

Though the literary cultivation of the Tamil language may have 
commenced, as the Tamilians believe, in the age of Agastya (premising, 
however, that it is undecided whether he was a real personage, or is 
only to be regarded as the mythological representative of a class or 
period), I feel quite certain that none of the works which are com- 
monly ascribed to Agastya were written at so early an age. Probably 
there is not any one of them older than the tenth century a.d. Of the 
works attributed to him, those which advocate the system of the 
Siddhas (in Tamil ^ittar), a mystical compound of monotheism, quiet- 
ism, and alchemy, with a tinge of Christianity, must certdnly have 
been written after the arrival of Europeans in India : and Agastya's 
name appears to have been used by the writers, as had been done by 
many successions of authors before, for the purpose of gaining the ear 
of the people for whose use the books were composed. We cannot 
doubt that the substance of the following stanza, which is contained 
in the Ndna nicTu, or * Centum of Wisdom,' a small poem attributed to 
Agastya, has been borrowed from statements of Christianity, notwith- 


standing that Christianity is not directly named in it, or in any other 
work of this class : — 

•* Worship thou the Light of the Universe ; who is one ; 
Who made the world in a moment, and placed good men in it ; 
Who afterwards himself dawned upon the earth as a Guru ; 
Who, without wife or family, as a hermit performed austerities ; 
Who, appointing loving sages (siddhas) to succeed him, 
Departed again into heaven : — worship him." 

It is a striking illustration of the uncritical structure of the ordinary 
Hindti mind, that this stanza is supposed, even by Tamil literati, to 
have been written by Agastya himself many thousands of years ago. 
Hindtls endeavour to give it an orthodox Hindu meaning, and native 
Christians regard it as a prophecy. Though there is not a single 
archaism in it ; though it is written not only in the modern dialect, 
but in a colloquial idiom, abounding in solecisms, neither party enter- 
tains any doubt of its antiquity. 

Next to the fabulous Agastya, though many centuries before the 
treatises ascribed to him, we may perhaps place the author of the Tol- 
kappiyam (Tam. tol, ancient; Sans. Tcdvya, poem), or ancient book, a 
real person, though fabled to have been one of Agastya's disciples, who 
quarrelled with his master and set up for himself. The Tol-k^ppiyani 
is generally admitted to be the oldest extant Tamil grammar, and has 
been supposed, though on somewhat slight evidence, to be the oldest 
Tamil composition now extant, with the exception of certain fragments 
to be referred to presently. 

Though written by a S'aiva, its S'aivism is not that of the mystical 
schools of the Ved^nta or S'aiva-siddhanta ; and in the chapters 
which are still in existence (for much of it is supposed to have been 
lost), native grammarians have noticed the existence of various gram- 
matical forms which are considered, but I think without sufficient 
warrant, to be archaic. It is traditionally asserted that the author of 
this treatise, who is styled technically * Tolk^ppiyan^r,' the man of the 
ancient book, embodied in his work the substance of Agastya's gramma- 
tical elements. This tradition is on a par with that which ascribes so 
many anonymous works of modern times to Agastya himself : neverthe- 
less, if any relics of poems of the first age of Tamil literature still survive, 
they are to be found amongst the poetical quotations which are con- 
tained in this and similar works, and in commentaries which have been 
written upon them. Some of those quotations are probably the very 
oldest specimens of the poetical style that are now extant. Whatever 
antiquity may be attributed to the Tolk^ppiyam, it must have been 
preceded by many centuries of literary culture. . It lays down rules for 


different kinds of poetical compositions, which must have been deduced 
from examples furnished by the best authors whose works were then 
in existence. A rule is simply an observed custom. Grammars, as 
well as poems, had preceded the Tolk^ppiyam, for it contihually 
cites rules which had been laid down by preceding grammarians. 
Hence the formula which so frequently recurs, enmandr pulavar, ' the 
poets (i.e., the grammarians) say.' [This form, enmandr instead of 
enhar, is one of the supposed archaisms of this writer ; but enhar 
appears to me more ancient as well as more regular.] In endeavouring 
to trace the commencement of Tamil literature, we are thus carried 
further and further back to" an unknown period. 

Even when we come down to the later period, if it were really later^ 
of the Kural and the Chintamani, when Tamil literature is supposed 
to have reached the summit of its perfection, we find that the exact 
age even of those great compositions is unknown. We have not a single 
reliable date to guide us, and in the mist of conjecture a few centuries 
more or less seem to go for nothing. Tamil writers, like Hindu writers 
in general, hid their individuality in the shade of their writings. Even 
the names of most of them are unknown. They seem to have regarded 
individual celebrity, like individual existence, as worthless, and absorp- 
tion into the Universal Spirit of the classical literature of their country 
as the highest good to which their compositions could aspire. Their 
readers followed in the same course, age after age. If the book was 
good, people admired it ; but whether it was written by a man or by a 
divinity, or whether it wrote itself, as the Vedas were commonly sup- 
posed to have done, they neither knew nor cared. Still less did they 
care, of course, if the book were bad. The historical spirit, the anti- 
quarian spirit, to a great degree even the critical spirit, are develop- 
ments of modern times. If, therefore, I attempt to throw some light 
on the age of the principal Tamil works, I hope it may be borne in 
mind that, in my opinion, almost the only thing that is perfectly cer- 
tain in relation to those works is, that they exist. 

It will be convenient to arrange the principal extant works in cycles, 
which appear to follow one another, with more or less probability, in 
chronological order. 

(1.) The Jaina cycle. — I might perhaps have called this instead the 
cycle of the Madura Sangam or College, seeing that two of the most 
renowned books of this period — the Naladiy^r and the Kural — are said 
to have received the imprimatur of the college ] but in the accounts 
respecting the college and its proceedings that have been handed down 
to us the legendary element predominates to such a degree, and the 
books now extant ascribed to members of the college, or said to have 


been approved by them, are such commonplace productions in compa- 
rison with those two, that I prefer regarding the college as merely 
*the shadow of a great name,' and describing the principal works 
of the period, not as those which emanated from the college, but 
as those of the Jaina cycle, from the internal evidence of the works 

Leaving out of account the isolated stanzas already referred to, of 
high but unknown antiquity, which are quoted as examples in the 
grammatical and rhetorical works, the oldest Tamil works of any extent 
now extant are those which were written, or claim to have been written, 
by the Jainas, or which date from the era of the literary activity of the 
Jaina sect. The Jainas of the old P^ndya country were animated by 
a national and anti-Br^hmanical feeling of peculiar strength ; and it is 
chiefly to them that Tamil is indebted for its high culture and its com- 
parative independence of Sanskrit.* The S'aiva and Vaishnava writers 
of a later period, especially the S'aivas, imbibed much of the enthusiasm 
for Tamilic purity and literary independence by which the Jainas were 
distinguished ; in consequence of which, though Tamil literature, as a 
whole, will not bear a comparison with Sanskrit literature, as a whole, 
it is the only vernacular literature in India which has not been con- 
tented with imitating Sanskrit, but has honourably attempted to emu- 
late and outshine it. In one department at least, that of ethical apoph- 
thegms, it is generally maintained, and I think must be admitted, 
that Sanskrit has been outdone by Tamil. The Jaina period extended 
probably from the eighth or ninth century a.d., to the twelfth or thir- 
teenth. In the reign of Sundara P^ndya, called also Kun or Kubja 
PUndya, the date of which will be considered further on, the adherents 
of the religious system of the Jainas are said to have been finally 
expelled from the P^ndya country; consequently, all Tamil works 
which advocate or avow that system may be concluded to have been 
written before the middle of the thirteenth century a.d,, and probably 
before the decadence of Jaina influence in the twelfth. An exception 

* Dr Burnell, in the article already quoted, says — "All earlier civilisation in 
Southern India, so far as it is known, is connected with the Jainas. Hiwen 
Thsang, who visited the Telugu and Tamil countries in 639-40 a.d., mentions 
that the inhabitants were chie&y Nirgranthas [i.e., Digambara Jainas). He 
mentions a few Buddhists, but has not a word about Brdhmans. The vague 
term by which the Tamil language is mentioned (by Kumdrila), Indhra-Dr^vida- 
bhasha, is remarkable, as it indicates that a systematic study of the so-called 
Dravidian languages can hardly have begun in the eighth century. . . . There 
can be little doubt that Bha^ta Kumarila regarded the South Indian (Dravidian) 
dialects as Mlechcha, or un-Bra^manic, uncivilised languages. He does not say 
so expressly, but his words imply that he thought so." 



must be made in behalf of the Ch1\d^mani Nighantu, a classical dic- 
tionary, by Mandala-purusha, a Jaina writer of the sixteenth century, 
who enjoyed the protection of one of the kings of Vjaya-nagaram. 

The Kural of Tiruvalluvar, a work which consists of 1330 distichs, 
or poetical aphorisms, on almost every subject connected with vir- 
tue, wealth, and pleasure (the three chief objects of human existence, 
according to Hindi! writers — the three puruslidrthas), and which is 
regarded by all Tamilians (and perhaps justly) as the finest composi- 
tion of which Tamil can boast, is generally regarded not only the best 
but the oldest Tamil poem of any extent which is now in existence. 
I think we should not be warranted in placing the date of the Kural 
later than the tenth century a.d. 

The reasons which induce me to assign to it so high an antiquity 
are as follows '. — 

(1.) The Kural contains no trace of the distinctive doctrines of 
Sankara Ach^rya. It teaches the old S^nkhya philosophy, but ignores 
Sankara's additions and developments, and would therefore appear to 
have been written before the school of Sankara had popularised itself "» 
in the South ; though probably not before Sankara himself, who seems 
to have lived not later than the ninth century. 

(2.) It contains no trace of the distinctive doctrines of the Agama 
or S'aiva-siddh^nta school — a school which, since about the eleventh 
century a.d., has exercised a more powerful influence on Tamil 
literature and the Tamil niind than any other. It exhibits no acquaint- 
ance even with the existence of this school. 

(3.) There is no trace in the Kural of the mysticism of the modern 
Puranic system ; of Bliahti, or exclusive, enthusiastic faith in any one 
deity of the HindU Pantheon. The work appears to have been written 
before S'aivism and Vaishnavism had been transformed from rival 
schools into rival sects ; before the Puranas, as they now stand, had 
become the text-books of Hindii theology; and whilst the theosophy 
of the early Vedanta and the mythology of the Maha-bharata com- 
prised the entire creed of the majority of Hindus. 

(4.) The author of the Kural is claimed with nearly equal reason 
by S'aivas and Jainas. He is claimed also, but very feebly, by Vaish- 
navas. On the whole, the arguments of the Jainas appear to me to 
preponderate, especially those which appeal to the Jaina titles by 
which God is described, and the Jaina tone that pervades the ethical 
part of the work: — e.g., scrupulous abstinence from the destruction 
of life is frequently declared to be not only the chiefest excellence of 
the true ascetic, but also the highest virtue. Nevertheless, from the 
indistinctness and undeveloped character of the Jaina element con- 


tained in it, it seems probable that in Tiruvalluvar's age the Jainism 
of the Tamil country was rather an esoteric ethical school, than an 
independent objective system of religion, and was only in the process 
of development out of the older Hinduism. This would carry back 
the date of the Kural to the ninth or tenth century. 

(5.) The Kural is referred to and quoted in grammars and pro- 
sodies which were probably written in the eleventh or twelfth century. 

For these reasons, such as they are, we seem to be warranted in 
placing the Kural in the tenth century a.d., at least. It must be 
remembered, however, as in almost every similar inquiry pertaining to 
Indian literature, that the reasons for this conclusion possess only a 
very limited amount of probability, and are capable of being overruled 
by the first discovery of a reliable date or fact. There are reasons 
also for regarding it as possible that the Kural should be placed 
several centuries later. It is the concurrent voice of various traditions 
that Tiruvalluvar lived before the dissolution of the Madura College, 
and it is certain that the Kural is included in a poetical list of 
eighteen works which the college-board — (in this case tradition says it 
was literally a hoard) — sanctioned. Those traditions go on to state that 
the Kural was the very last work presented for the approval of the 
college, and that it was in consequence of the rejection of the Kural, 
in the first instance by the syndicate (on account of the low caste of 
its author), that the college ceased to exist. The board miraculously 
expanded itself to receive the Kural, and then miraculously contracted 
itself so as to thrust out all the existing members of the college, where- 
upon, unable to bear the disgrace, they are all said to have drowned 
themselves. If any weight could be attached to this tradition, it 
would bring down the date of the Kural considerably, for other 
traditions connect Nakkirar (who is always represented as the president 
of the college) with the reign of Karik^la Chola, who seems to have 
lived in the thirteenth century. Another tradition of a similar ten- 
dency is that which places Auveiy^r (Tiruvalluvar's sister) in the reign 
of Kulotunga Chola, who is known to have lived in the twelfth century. 
We must be cautious, however, of placing the Kural so late as 
Kulotunga Chola's reign, for it may be regarded as certain that it was 
in that reign that the Tamil Eam%ana was completed and published ; 
and Tamil scholars are of opinion that there is internal evidence in 
the R^m^ana of its author's acquaintance with the Kural, espe- 
cially in certain stanzas relating to the duties and qualifications of 

It is a remarkable circuiastance that the author of the Kural is 
represented to have been a Pareiya, — born, according to the legend, at 


Meilapiir, near Madras. Another legend represents him to have been 
the offspring of a Brahman father by a Pareiya mother. His real name 
is unknown. The Valluvas are the priestly division of the Pareiyas, 
and also soothsayers, and the author of the ' Kural * is known only as 
Tiruvalluvar, ' the sacred Valluvan ' or Pareiya priest. This is one of 
those traditions which are so repugnant to inveterate popular pre- 
judice, that they appear too strange for fiction, and are probably 
founded on fact. It is a still more remarkable circumstance that 
certain poetical compositions of universal use and popularity in the 
Tamil country, and of considerable merit, are ascribed to a sister of 
Tiruvalluvar, a Pareiya woman ! Auvey^r's real name, like that of her 
brother, is unknown, — Auvei or Auveiydr, signifying 'a mother,' 'a 
venerable matron.' 

The Jaina period produced another great ethical poem on " the three 
objects of existence," called the Naladiydr. The style of the stanzas 
of which it is composed is more discursive and rhetorical than that of 
the Kural, and Dr Granl considers it on this account probably more 
ancient. There is a still stronger argument, I think, for its priority to 
the Kural. As it is admitted on every hand that the Kural excels all 
Tamil compositions of this kind, it seems improbable that a later 
writer of inferior power should have chosen the same subject and 
treated it according to the same rules. Kural means ' brief,' referring 
to the brevity of the verse employed : N^ladi means ^ four feet,' refer- 
ring probably to the four line stanza in which the poem is written. 
The name of the author is unknown, as well as his date. All that is 
known is that he was a Jaina, that he wrote in the P^ndya country, 
which he frequently describes by well-chosen epithets, and that his 
work is included in the list of those said to have been sanctioned by 
the Madura College. Some native scholars are of opinion that the 
whole of the Naladi is not the composition of one author, but that on 
the contrary it appears by internal signs to be a collection of stanzas 
by different hands. 

The Chint^mani,* a brilliant, romantic epic, containing 15,000 lines, 
is the most celebrated Tamil poem written by an avowedly Jaina 
author. Partly from its Jaina origin, partly from the difficulty of its 
style, it is little known ; but Beschi, who made the Chint^mani the 
model on which he composed his Temb^vani, was probably right in 
asserting that the author " may with justice be called the prince of 
Tamil poets." The style is considered superior even to that of Kam- 

* Chintdmani, Sana, the gem which yields all one desires, a favourite title of 
books in all the Indian languages. 


bar's Tamil R^m^yana. The name of the author is unknown. It is 
the opinion of some native scholars that the Chintamani preceded the 
Kural. They think they can trace allusions in the Kural to matters 
contained in the Chintamani, also amplifications in the Kural of 
matters which the Chintamani expresses more briefly. These reasons 
are adduced still more confidently to prove the priority of the Kural to 
the Tamil Ramayana. It would be a remarkable circumstance if it 
were capable of being clearly proved that the ^Chint^maiii, which is 
without doubt the greatest epic poem in the Tamil language, is also 
the oldest Tamil composition of any extent now extant. 

To this period also belongs the oldest classical dictionary of the Tamil 
language, called the Divakaram (divd-kara, the day-maker, the sun), 
a work ascribed to S'^ndanar, a writer who is said to have been a mem- 
ber of the Madura College. The other two classical Tamil dictionaries, 
the Pingalandei and the Chud^mani Nighantu, were also the composi- 
tion of Jainas. We have to place in this period, though probably near 
its close, the most celebrated and authoritative of Tamil grammars, 
the Nanniil of Pavananti. This is regarded up to the present day as 
the standard grammar of the language, though its method, like that of 
all Indian grammars, is very perplexing. No Tamil grammar appears 
to have been written by a Jaina before the time of Pavananti. The 
Jainas of the early period were great dictionary-makers, but they seem 
to have left the writing of grammars to S'aivas. 

(2.) The Tamil Edmdyana Cycle. — The Tamil version of the K^mH- 
yana is an imitation rather than a translation of V^lmiki's celebrated 
poem. The Sanskrit original is sometimes rhetorical, sometimes simple, 
touching, and natural, sometimes prosaic and prolix. The Tamil 
imitation never condescends to be natural, much less prosaic, but is 
always elaborately rhetorical and ornate. It piles up epithet on 
epithet, simile on simile, till the thought is obscured and the narrative 
interrupted and almost forgotten. To the Tamil ear it seems the per- 
fection of sweet harmonious rhythm, but to the severer European 
judgment its sweetness borders upon lusciousness, and its harmony too 
often suggests the idea of monotonous jingle. The difierence between 
the Tamil and the Sanskrit R^m^ana may be compared to the differ- 
ence between Pope's Iliad and the Iliad of Homer ; but this compari- 
son, though a just one so far as it goes, gives only an imperfect idea 
at best of the difference between the two works. Notwithstanding its 
faults of style, from the point of view of a cultured taste, the Tamil 
R^m^yana is undoubtedly a great poem, and in this department of 
composition the Chintamani alone can dispute with it for the palm of 
supremacy. The author, Ktmbar, is so called from the name of the 


district to which he belonged, Kamba-n^du, in the Tanjore country, a 
portion of the ancient Chola-desa. " His fame as ^_a poet having 
reached the ears of R^jendra Ch61a, he was invited to his court, and 
honoured with the title of the king of poets. Several poets undertook 
to prepare a Tamil version of the E4mS,yana. When recited in the 
presence of Kulotunga Ch61a, who had succeeded to the throne, Kam- 
bar's version was preferred." * Several other works are attributed to 
him, of which the flr-erubadu, seventy stanzas in praise of the plough, 
is best known. 

So many great poets, authors of works held in high esteem to the 
present day, seem to have flourished in Kambar's time (in particular 
Pugarendi, OttakkMtar, and Auveiy^r), that I have thought the litera- 
ture of this period best described by the name of the RamHyana cycle, 
and it becomes in consequence a point of interest to endeavour to 
determine its date. Nothing has been definitely ascertained respect- 
ing the date of the first or Jaina cycle • but as Kambar's era synchro- 
nises with the reigns of the two most celebrated kings of the Chola 
line, our prospect of being able to determine his date — the earliest date 
in Tamil literature which we are likely to be able at present to deter- 
mine — seems more hopeful. If it were possible to accept the date 
which is supposed to be furnished by the Tamil Ramayana itself, our 
search would at once come to an end. In a stanza which is prefixed 
to the work, and which is commonly, but without any conclusive autho- 
rity, attributed to the author himself, it is stated that it was finished in 
the year of the S'alivabana era corresponding to a.d. 886. This date 
used to be accepted as genuine, not only by natives, but by those few 
European scholars who had turned their attention to matters of this 
kind. If it were genuine, the Tamil version of the R^raayana might 
fairly claim to be the oldest Tamil composition now extant — a supposi- 
tion to which the internal evidence of style is opposed ; and the author 
to be regarded as the father of Tamil poetry. This date, though it is 
the only one with which I am acquainted in the whole range of Tamil 
literature, is, I fear, an unauthorised addition to Kambar's poem, pre- 
fixed to it by some admiring editor for the purpose of giving it a higher 
antiquity than it can justly claim. We must therefore fall back in this 
inquiry on the dates of the Ch61a kings. 

Kambar is connected with the reigns of R^jendra Ch61a and his 
successor Kulotunga Chola, not by any inscriptions or documents 
which leave no room for uncertainty, but only by traditions, legends, 

* Murdoch's " Classified Catalogue of Tamil Printed Books ; Notices of Tamil 
Authors," p. 87. 


and stories ; '^ but these are so numerous, and on the whole so consis- 
tent, and they are corroborated to such a degree by what appear to be 
undesigned coincidences, that I think their evidence, at least with 
regard to the point of contemporaneousness, may safely be accepted. 
I do not find it stated in any inscriptions that Kulotunga was Raj^n- 
dra's son, but that he was his successor (whether his immediate suc- 
cessor or not) appears from an inscription I obtained at Kott^r, near 
Nagercoil, in the Tamil-speaking part of Travancore. This inscription 
is cut on the walls of a temple, and states that the temple in question 
was erected in KottUr, called also ' the good town of the triple crowned 
Chola,' by Kulotunga S'6ra devar, ' to the great divinity Eijendra 
S'oresvaram' (i.e., to S'iva as worshipped by Rajendra Chola, or to 
Rajendra Chola himself considered as identified with S'iva after his 
death). t This inscription is dated in the thirty-first year of Kulo- 
tunga S'6ra. [I have found several records of gifts made to this and 
other temples dedicated to Rajendra Cholesvara in succeeding reigns, 
including one in the reign of Sundara Pandya. Only one of these 
inscriptions furnishes us with a date, and that unfortunately is a 
late one. It is a record in the same temple at Kottar of a gift to the 
same Chola king's divinity, and is dated in the S'aka year answering 
to A.D. 1370, in the fifth year of Parakrama Pandi d^var. Rajendra 
himself is generally in inscriptions in the Pdndya country called simply 
Rajendra Ch61a, but in one inscription I have found him called R^j^n- 
dra Chola Pandiyan.] 

What was Rajendra's date? I have found two inscriptions at Cape 
Comorin, one in the fourth year of his reign, and another in the fifth, 
in each of which Rajendra is related to have achieved a victory over 
Ahava Malla (a Jaina king of the Chalukya race) on the banks of the 
Tunga-bhadra. The date which I supposed to be contained in one 
of these inscriptions I found afterwards was unreliable ; but an in- 
scription found by Sir Walter Elliot (Journal of the Royal Asiatic 
Society) in the western Chalukya country, in which the same battle 
is mentioned (though the victory is claimed for the Chalukya king), 
places Ahava Malla, Rajendra's contemporary, in the middle of the 
eleventh century. According to inscriptions obtained by Sir Walter 
Elliot in the Kalinga country or Northern Circars (at that time ruled 
over by the eastern branch of the Chalukya dynasty), which were 

* These traditions have recently been collected in a book called the Vinodarasa 
Manchari, by Virasv4mi Chettidr, late head pandit of the Presidency College, 

f Compare the Roman title ' Divus Augustus,' that is, Augustus regarded as" 
deified after bis death. • 


utilised by Dr Eggeling in a paper [read before the International 
Congress of Orientalists in 1874, Raj^ndra Chola commenced to reign 
in A.D. 1063, and ruled not only over the Ch61a country, but over the 
Kalinga country, and, as my inscriptions prove, over the P^ndya 
country also. The battle between him and Ahava Malla must, there- 
fore, have taken place between 1063 and 1066. I have an inscrip- 
tion of Raj^ndra Chola's, belonging to the southern portion of the 
Pandya country, dated in the thirtieth year of his reign. This carries 
us down to A.D. 1093. When he died, and was succeeded by Kul6- 
tunga Chola, is at present uncertain, but Sir Walter Elliot places this 
event in a.d. 1112, after a reign of forty-nine years. I have an in- 
scription dated in the forty-fourth year of Kul6tunga Ch61a ; but it 
is unnecessary to place the publication of Kambar's ' R^mayana ' so 
late as this. Supposing that it was commenced in R^j^ndra's reign, 
and finished in Kul6tunga's, as all traditions represent, its publication 
cannot have been much before a.d. 1100, and was probably not much 
after that date. Supposing that it was published as late as the twenty- 
fourth year of Kulotunga's reign, this would be exactly 250 years 
after the date given in the stanza prefixed to the poem. It would, 
therefore, appear that the poem must have been antedated 250 

It seems certain that Kambar was posterior to Rdm^nuja, the 
celebrated founder of the S'ri Vaishnava system. He refers to 
R^manuja by name in a poem called the ' S'adagopar AntMi,' which 
is always attributed to him. It might be supposed doubtful whether 
this poem were really written by Kambar, but native scholars think 
there can be no doubt about its authorship, as Kambar's style, they 
say, was sui generis, and incapable of being imitated. As Ram^nuja 
is placed by Professor Wilson, on what appears to be conclusive 
evidence, in the beginning of the twelfth century a.d.,* Kambar's 
date must be posterior to Ram^nuja's. The supposition that he lived 
in the following century in the reigns of Rajendra Ch61a and Kul6- 
tunga Chola, will perfectly suit all the circumstances of the case. 

The same traditions and stories which place- the poets Pugarendi 
and Ottakkiittar, together with Kambar, in the reign of Kulotunga 
Chola, place also Auveiy^r, the reputed sister of Tiruvalluvar, in the 
same reign, and connect her by means of conversations and incidents 
with those three poets. I therefore place her tentatively in this cycle, 
though this will have the efifect either of discrediting the tradition 

* Brown, in his " Cyclic Tables," places King Vishnu Vardhana's conversion 
by Ramduuja in 1133 a.d. 



which represents her as Tiruvalluvar's sister, or of bringing down the 
age of the Kur^l lower than the internal evidence of style and 
matter seems to warrant. This period, however, does not seem too 
late for Auveiyjir herself. The two sets of brief verses called the 
Atti-iildi and the Kondrei-vendan, each commencing with a con- 
secutive letter of the Tamil alphabet, which are ascribed to Auveiy^r, 
appear to be of considerable antiquity : but the Advaita work which 
is called Auveiy^r's Kural must have been written subsequently to 
the arrival of the Muhammedans in Southern India ; and the collection 
of moral epigrams (most of them possessed of real poetic merit) which 
is called the ' Mudurei,' or ' proverbial wisdom,' appears to have been 
written after the arrival of Europeans, perhaps even after the arrival 
of the English. The proof of the modern origin of the ' Mlidurei ' is ' 
contained in the following simile : — " As the turkey that had seen the 
forest peacock dance, fancied himself also to be a peacock, and spread 
his ugly wings and strutted, so is the poetry which is recited by a 
conceited dunce." As it is certain that the turkey is an American 
bird, which was brought to Europe from America, and introduced into 
India from Europe, there cannot be any doubt of the late origin of the 
' MMurei,' if this stanza was always an integral portion of it. When 
I have mentioned this anachronism to native scholars, and have called 
their attention to the circumstance that the Tamil word for ' turkey ' 
(like the words denoting 'tobacco,' * potato,' &c.), is not an original 
root, but a descriptive compound — viz., vdn-kori, signifying * the great 
fowl,' they have courageously maintained that the turkey was always 
found in India. 

Another and more ingenious explanation has been advanced by Mr 
T. M. Scott of Madura, a warm admirer of Tamil poetry. In an 
edition of the ' Mudurei ' Mr Scott maintains that by vdn-kdri we are 
to understand, not the turkey, but the pea-hen. Though this ex- 
planation is ingenious, I think it inadmissible, on grounds both of 
philology and of natural history. The pea-hen could not have been 
described as having ' ugly wings ; ' and if it had been the intention of 
the authoress Ijo distinguish the hen from the cock, she w^ould not have 
marred her purpose by styling the cock alone ' the pea-fowl,' and its 
hen 'the great fowl,' thereby necessarily suggesting the idea that what 
she called ' the great fowl ' was a totally different bird. It would be 
safer to argue that the stanza in question was not originally contained 
in the collection — of which, however, no proof can be adduced. 

(3.) The S'aiva Revival Cycle. — To this period belongs two large col- 
lections of hymns — an earlier and a later — in praise of S'iva and S'aiva 
temples, breathing an inteasely religious spirit, and mostly advocating 


the S'aiva-siddhanta system of religious philosophy. The earlier collec- 
tion, called Tiru-vdsagam^ composed by Mdnikka-vdsagar (Manikya- 
v^chaka), one of the most enthusiastic propagators of Saivism, has a 
great reputation amongst the Tamil people up to the present day for 
its elevated tone and religious earnestness. The heretics that Manikka- 
vasagar chiefly confuted were Buddhists from Ceylon, according to the 
account of a great debate on the merits of the rival creeds related 
in the Tiruvdd4r 'piirdnam ; we can scarcely err, therefore, in placing 
him earlier, perhaps at least a century earlier, than the other great 
apostle of S'aivism in the Tamil country, Ndna Samhandhar, who 
flourished during the reign of Sundara-Pandya (the date of whose reign 
will be considered further on), and whose opponents were Jainas. 
M^nikka-v^sagar is not included amongst the sixty-three Bhaktas or 
S'aiva devotees, belonging to Nana Sambandhar's period, whose lives 
are recorded in the Tiruttondar j^urdnam, and he is generally stated 
by Tamil writers to have lived at an earlier period. Some, it is true, 
place him later than the sixty-three, but, I think, with much less pro- 
bability. A story contained in the Madurei Sthala pur^nam places 
M^nikka-v^sagar in the reign of Arimardana Pandya, whose minister he 
is represented to have been, and whose name stands tenth in the list 
of kings in that purdna before that of Sundara Pandya. I have no 
confidence in any name in that list before Sundara's, the name with 
which it ends; but we may conclude that the. prince in question, or 
at least Manikka-v^sagar, lived before Sundara. 

The later and larger collection of Saiva hymns was composed chiefly 
by Ndna-Samhandhar, a native of Sheally {$igdri), near Chellum- 
brum (Chidamhara), a sacred S'aiva temple in the Chola country, 
who together with his disciples (of whom the most eminent w^ere Sun- 
darar and Appar, who also were authors of numerous hymns) devoted 
themselves to uprooting Jainism and spreading Saivism throughout the 
Tamil country. The general title of these hymns is Devdram {devdrha, 
Sans, worthy of God). Sambandhar's hymns, 384 in number, have 
been published in three volumes ; Sundarai's and Appar's in one volume 
each. These three persons held the most distinguished place amongst 
' the sixty-three devotees of Siva,' of each of whose life and labours, 
including a variety of romantic and miraculous exploits attributed to 
them, a memoir has been furnished in a popular book already referred 
to, the Tiruttondar purdnam (the purdna of the holy disciples), com- 
monly called the Periya purdnam, or great purdnam, composed by a 
poet called ^ekkirdr. Some of the incidents in Sambandhar's career, 
especially his reconversion of Sundara Pdndya, king of Madura, from 
Jainism, and the impaling of eight thousand Jainas, who had been van- 


quished in discussion and outdone in miracles, are related also in the 
last portion of the Tiruvileiyddal purdnam, the Sthala purdna of 
Madura. The date of the Tiruttondar purdnam is unknown ; but if it 
be true, as is related, that the Tiruvileiyddal purdnam was translated 
from the Sanskrit original at the request of Ati-vira-rdma Pdndya, the 
poet-king of Madura (as there seems no reason for doubting), it dates, 
as will be seen further on, from the sixteenth century a.d. Another 
of the sixty-three devotees, ^eramdn Ferumdl, who is said to have been 
a son of one of the S'era or Kerala kings, was also the author of some 
poems belonging to this cycle. 

There seems no reason to doubt the propriety of placing the most 
famous poets and theologians of the Saiva revival in the time of Sun- 
dara Pandya, in whose reign they are invariably placed by native tra- 
ditions, as well as by the books referred to ; and as this reign is an 
important era, both for the history of Tamil literature and for the date 
of the almost final extinction of Jainism in the Tamil country by the 
S'aivas, it becomes as important to endeavour to ascertain the date of 
this king's reign as it was to fix that of Kul6tunga Ch61a. In the 
first edition of this work, I stated that Sundara Pandya seemed to me 
to be identical with the Sender-bandi mentioned by Marco Polo, who 
visited Southern India in a.d. 1292. This identification, however, has 
not found much acceptance. Mr Nelson, in his " Madura Manual," 
after a long and elaborate discussion of the evidence before him, comes 
to the conclusion that Sundara lived in the latter half of the eleventh 
century, and therefore nearly two hundred years before Polo's Sender- 
bandi ; and Colonel Yule, in private communications with which he has 
favoured me, states that he considers it clear from the statements of 
the Muhammedan historians, Wassaf and Kashiduddin, that there were 
two Sundars in Ma'bar about Polo's time, and that whilst he thinks 
Polo's Sender-bandi was identical with the earlier of the two, he is 
inclined to the opinion that this person was not a genuine king of 
Madura, but an adventurer, and therefore not the Sundara Pandya, the 
date of whose reign I am anxious to ascertain. 

The question of the date of this Sundara Pandya, the last king of 
the old Pandya line, is beset with difiSculties. Inscriptions belonging 
to his reign are very numerous. There are at least twenty in my own 
possession, but not one of them contains a date. If ever a dated 
inscription belonging to his reign should be discovered (which might 
readily happen if a thorough search were made, seeing that the district 
of country from which my inscriptions have been taken does not 
amount to more than a fifth part of the old Pandya country), all doubt 
would be at an end. It ftight be necessary in that event to abandon 


Marco Polo's Sender-bandi altogether ; but till then I feel reluctant 
to give him up. That the true Sundara Plindya, who impaled the 
Jainas, and with whose name the ancient list of Pandya kings breaks 
suddenly off, belongs rather to the end of the thirteenth century (Polo's 
era) than to the end of the eleventh, as Mr Nelson supposes, appears 
to me at present best to accord with the various items of evidence 
with which we have to deal. It is certain that Sundara lived after 
KSj^ndra Chola, for there is an inscription in my possession, as I have 
already mentioned, in which a gift is recorded to have been made in 
the thirty-second year of Sundara to the temple of Kslj^ndra Sores- 
varam. This takes him out of the eleventh century altogether, a.d. 
1112, according to Sir Walter Elliot's lists, being the last year of 
E^jendra's reign. It is in the highest degree probable that Sundara 
was preceded also by Kulotunga Chola who, as we know from an 
inscription already referred to, ruled over the whole of the Pandya 
country, like Rajendra himself, without a rival, shortly after R^j^ndra's 
reign. It is certain that he was preceded by Vikrama P4ndya, called 
also Vikrama Ch61a-P^ndi, who is related, in an inscription in my 
possession dated in Sundara's reign, to have previously made a gift to 
the temple on which the inscription is found, in conjunction with 
Vira Chola, both of whom appear to have reigned in the interval 
between R^j^ndra Ch61a and Sundara Pandya. I may add that his 
reign must have been subsequent (probably a considerable time sub- 
sequent) to the era of RUmanuja, who flourished in the beginning of 
the twelfth century a.d. In several of the inscriptions belonging to 
Sundara Pandya's reign in my possession, gifts to S'ri Vaishnava 
establishments are recorded, and in one of these one of the witnesses 
to the gift is designated Ramanuja-ddsa, the servant or devotee of 
RS,m^nuja, a clear proof that R^m^tnuja was already deceased, and had 
already for a considerable time been regarded as a sacred personage. 
[The person referred to as Ramanuja in this connection could not have 
been Rama's younger brother, who is sometimes called by that name in 
the R^m^yana.] This seems to me quite irreconcilable with the idea 
that Sundara reigned in the latter part of the eleventh century. Lastly, 
if we may consider it certain, as I think we may, that the same Sun- 
dara Pandya, called also Kubja Pandya, or in Tamil Kun Pandiyan, 
was in some sense the last of the kings of the old Pandya line — (seeing 
that his name stands last in the list, that he is the last king mentioned 
in the Madura Tiruvileiyddal purdnam, and that all traditions repre- 
sent his reign as having been followed by a period of anarchy, during 
which several Muhammedan dynasties were established at Madura) — 
then it must be considered certain that his reign comes nearly down 


to tlie period of the two Sundaras mentioned by the Muhammedan 
historians, one of whom may have been the Sender-bandi of Marco 
Polo himself. 

The statements of the Muhammedan historians respecting the first of 
their two Sundaras do not seem to me irreconcilable with the sup- 
position of the identity of Polo's Sender with the Sundara Pandya of 
the inscriptions. If we leave out of account Wassafs second Sundara, 
who flees to Delhi in 1310, we find him agreeing with Rashiduddin 
with respect to the Sundara who died in 1293, the man of four brothers, 
whom we may with very little hesitation identify with Marco Polo's 
Sender, who was reigning in 1292. Is it impossible also to identify 
this same Sundara with the Sundara of the inscriptions ? I think not. 
It is clear from both the Muhammedan historians that at the close of the 
thirteenth century there reigned in Madura a Sundara Pandya who was 
Dewar — that is, as they interpreted the. title, lord paramount — of Ma'bar 
= the P^ndya-Chola country. He was, it is true, one of four (or five) 
brothers 'who had acquired power in different directions,' yet still he alone 
was called Dewar, and said to have been possessed of immense wealth. 
Polo also, though he speaks of his brothers as ' kings,' yet speaks of 
Sender alone as 'a crowned king/ and gives him distinctively the title 
of Bandi ; so that it is evident that in some respects he was regarded 
as supreme. There is no trace in Sundara's inscriptions of his brothers, 
or of his power being in any degree shared by them, or of the position 
he and they held being one that they had ' acquired,' instead of being 
one that they had inherited ; but these are particulars which would 
not be likely to make their appearance in inscriptions ; and there is 
nothing in the inscriptions or traditions inconsistent with the supposi- 
tion that he had brothers who had acquired power together with him- 
self. All that is necessary to stipulate for in order to bring the 
accounts into agreement, is that in some sense he alone should be 
Pandi Devar, or lord paramount, so that his name only should appear 
in the inscriptions, and in this, as it seems to me, no particular diflS- 
culty can be involved. Polo represents his Sender Bandi as ruling 
over Soli, which he describes as ' the best and noblest province of 
India.' Colonel Yule is quite right, I have no doubt, in identifying 
Soli with Tanjore — that is, with the Chola country — but this, instead 
of being a difficulty in the way of identifying Sender Bandi with the 
Sundara Peindya of the inscriptions, is in reality an argument in favour 
of this identification ; for whilst Sundara is called in some inscriptions 
simply Sundara Pandya, in a still larger number he is called Sundara 
Chola-Pandya, and represented as having conquered the Chola country 
and had himself consecrated there as Chola king. It is clear, however. 


that Polo's Sender Bandi ruled not only over the Chola country, but 
also over at least the coast district of Madura and Tinnevelly (the 
Pandya country), inasmuch as it is stated that it was in his territory 
that the pearl fishery was carried on. I find another point of agree- 
ment, not of diversity, in the traces we find in Sundara's court of 
Muhammedan influences. Eashiduddin represents his Sundara as suc- 
ceeded by a Muhammedan, and Wassaf agrees with Bashid in giving 
him a Muhammedan minister. Now it is clear from an inscrip- 
tion in Nelson's " Madura Manual," recording the confirmation by 
Virappa N^yakkar, in a.d. 1573, of a grant originally made by Kun 
P4ndi {i.e., the Sundara Pandya of the inscriptions, called also Ktln 
P^udiyan) to a mosque in Madura, that Muhammedan influences had 
found a footing in the Pandyan country even in the time of the genuine 
Sundara Pandya ; and we know that in those days Muhammedan 
power was extending so rapidly on every hand, that where- it received 
an inch it would not be slow in taking an ell. It seems to follow, 
therefore, quite naturally that Sundara's name should stand last in the 
list of the ancient Pandyan line, and that tradition should represent 
the Madura country soon after as entirely in the hands of Muham- 
medans. This would be an extraordinary circumstance if Sundara 
(Kun) P^ndi lived in the latter part of the eleventh century, but not by 
any means extraordinary if he lived in the latter part of the thirteenth. 
I may add that, so far as can be ascertained from inscriptions, only one 
Sundara Pandya ever reigned. In whatever part of the Pandya 
country this name appears, the epithets by which he is described 
invariably show that the person referred to is one and the same. For 
instance, in the elaborate inscription at Madura, given by Mr Nelson, 
we find a curious play on the numerals up to six ; and in an inscrip- 
tion obtained by me at Tirukolur, a place on the Tamraparni river in 
Tinnevelly, I find the very same play on the numerals, though more 
briefly expressed. [Thus, " He who by means of One umbrella throws 
a cool shade over Two countries " {i.e., the Pandya and Chola coun- 
tries), " who cultivates the Theee kinds of classical Tamil, who 
cherishes the Four Vedas, the Five species of sacrifice, and the Six 
(orthodox S'aiva) sects.^' The Madura inscription goes on to Eight.] 
The Sundara Pandya of the inscriptions had a long reign. I have one 
inscription dated in the thirty-second year of his reign, that in which 
a gift is recorded to the temple of Bajendra Cholesvara. It was 
natural therefore, especially seeing that it synchronised with the S'aiva 
revival, that it should abound in inscriptions. Now, as there are no 
inscriptions in which there is any reference to any other prince of this 
name ; as it is certain that we have inscriptions pertaining to earlier 


reigns, and certain also that we have dated inscriptions pertaining to 
subsequent reigns ; and as the Sundara of the Muhammedans must 
be presumed to have had a long reign, seeing that he occupies so 
large a space in their description of the kingdom, ports, trade, &c., of 
Ma'bar, I do not see any valid reason (pending the discovery of a dated 
inscription) why we should hesitate to identify their Sundar, both 
with Polo's Sender and with the Sundara or KUn Pandya of the 
inscriptions and the S'aiva revival. (See Appendix III.) 

(4.) The Vaishnava Cycle. — The poetical compositions of seven of 
the twelve Arv^rs or Vaishnava devotees, followers of Ramanuja, which 
are included in the Ndldyira [p)prahandham or Peria Prabandham 
('the Book of the Four Thousand Hymns' or 'the Great Book'), are 
still more numerous than those of Manikya Vachakar, Nana Sambandhar, 
and the other S'aiva devotees previously referred to, and are considered 
not inferior to them in religious fervour or poetical merit. As the 
Tiruv^sakam and collection of Devarams are regarded by the Saivas 
as "the Tamil Veda," so the same title is claimed by the Vaishnavas 
for the Ndldyira {p)prabandham, especially for those parts of it which 
are called Peria tiru-mori, 'the Great Sacred Word,' and Tiru-vdy- 
mori, ' the Words of the Sacred Mouth.' 

It is still more difficult to ascertain the date of these compositions 
with any degree of accuracy than that of the compositions of the S'aiva 
revival, not only in consequence of there being no chronological data 
in the poems themselves (a defect which they share with almost all 
Tamil, and indeed with almost all Hindu, poems), but also in con- 
sequence of there being no incidents on record connecting their authors 
with any of the Chola or Pandya kings. Rfim^nuja's own date is 
fixed with tolerable accuracy to the beginning of the twelfth century, 
in consequence of the fame of his conversion of Peddata, the Jaina king 
of the Hoisala race, afterwards called Vishnu Vardhana; and Nana 
Sambandhar's reconversion of Sundara Pandya from Jainism to 
S'aivism, furnishes us with the materials for approximately deter- 
mining his age ; but no such important conversion to the Vaishnava 
faith is attributed to any of the authors of the Nalayira (p) prabandham. 
We are, therefore, left very much in the dark as regards the age of the 
poems of this cycle, except with regard to one particular, viz., that they 
are all subsequent (probably several generations subsequent) to the 
era of Ramsinuja, the great teacher whose system they advocate, and 
to whom they frequently refer by name. Probably we shall not greatly 
err if we attribute to the older of these compositions nearly the same 
date as Manikya Vlichakaijjs Tiruvdsagam ; and place the latter, with 
the Devarams of Sambandhar, Sundarar, and Appar, somewhere about 


the era of Sundara P^ndya's reign. This seems to have been a period 
of intense religious excitement all over Southern India, and the fame 
of the compositions of the prophet-poets of the one faith would naturally 
fire the genius of the not less highly gifted prophet-poets of the other. 
It is singular that there is no reference in one of these sets of poems 
to the other, but this does not prove that they were not contemporary ; 
it only proves that they were widely sundered in feeling and aim. 
Our own Milton betrays no signs of having ever heard of Jeremy 
Taylor ; our own Jeremy Taylor betrays no signs of having ever heard 
of Milton : yet both were contemporaries, and one the greatest poet, 
the other the greatest prose- writer, of his age. If there was so wide 
a separation between Puritans and Churchmen in the seventeenth 
century in England, we need not wonder that many centuries earlier 
the S'aiva and Vaishn^va poets of the Tamil country, though probably 
contemporaries, or nearly so, believed that they had no ideas in 
common, and moved in the orbits of their several creeds far apart. 

(5.) The Cycle of the Literary Revival. — After a long period (pro- 
bably nearly two centuries) of literary inactivity, during which the 
name of not a single great writer can be mentioned, the Tamil mind 
again awoke. At the head of the poets of the new period stands 
Ati-vtra-rdma Fdndya, an elegant and prolific writer, without much 
original genius, whose chief aim seems to have been to reproduce the 
glory of the Chintamani and the other great classics of the earlier age. 
The most celebrated of the compositions attributed to him is the 
Neidadam (Naishada), a version of the story of Nala in eleven hundred 
Tamil stanzas, all of them exceedingly ornate, and many of them ex- 
ceedingly voluptuous. Another celebrated composition attributed to 
him is the Kdsi Mndam, which from its title might be supposed to be 
the hdrpdam, or book, of that name which professes to form a portion of 
the Skanda pur^na, but which in reality is an independent work. He is 
also said to have been the author of the admired Tamil versions of two 
of the Sanskrit Pur&nas, the Linga and the Ktirma. His best work 
from a moral point of view, and the only one in which he shows any 
real originality, is a little poem called the * Tettri Verkei,' in the first 
line of which he mentions his own name— a great novelty in Tamil litera- 
ture. We may attribute also to this period, I think, the Tamil version 
of the Maha-bharata, mainly by Villi Putttlrar, which, though not so 
celebrated as the Tamil Eam^yana of Kambar, is regarded as a very 
fine composition ; together with a large number of translations from 
Sanskrit on all subjects, including most of the Purfinas. Perhaps the 
most valuable, certainly the most thoughtful, compositions of this period, 
were the philosophical treatises in explanation of the Yedantic and 


S'aiva Siddhantic doctrines, some of them translations from Sanskrit, 
and some imitations. In this class the Nana Vasishtham, the prin- 
cipal Tamil Vedantic poem ; and the S'iva-ni,na-bodham, with its 
commentary the S'iva-ii^na-siddhi, the most authoritative exposition 
in Tamil of the Agama or S'aiva- Siddhantic system, may be regarded 
as worthy of special notice. Probably this was the period in which 
most of the medical treatises were composed ; and also the erotic 
pgems, which betoken a late period and a depraved taste. Most of 
the compositions included in the list of Tamil " Minor Poets," and some 
at least of those attributed to the members of the Madura College, 
appear to me to belong to this period — a period of translations and 
elegant extracts, of moral platitudes and pedantic conceits, rather than 
one of original thought. 

Ati-Vira-R^ma Pandiyan has sometimes been regarded as a mythical 
person. His name never appears in any traditions respecting the poli- 
tical history of his country ; and if really a reigning king, it is concluded 
that he could scarcely also have been a poet, but must most likely have 
been merely a patron of poets. It is difficult of course to ascertain 
whether he may not have received help from the poets of his court, 
especially in his long translations from the Sanskrit Paranas ; but it 
is so rare a thing for a Hindu king to be also a celebrated poet, that 
it seems unlikely so many poems should have been attributed to him, 
especially poems evincing what natives regard as such exquisite taste, 
if he had not really been their author. However this may be, I find 
it to be certain that this personage really existed and reigned, and I 
find also a satisfactory reason why his name does not occur in the 
political history. ' Ati-Vira-Ptama ' was not his real name, but his 
assumed literary name — his nom de plume. His real name, by which 
he was known as a reigning sovereign, was Vallabha Deva. I had 
many inscriptions in my possession pertaining to Vallabha Deva's 
reign, which were without date. At length I found a dated inscrip- 
tion, which turned out to be a peculiarly valuable one for Tamil literary 
history. This is an inscription in Sanskrit, in the Grantha character, 
found in the interior of the temple at Courtallum, Tinnevelly. It is 
in the fortieth year of Vallabha Deva, " who is Ati-Vira-Bdma ;" and 
that this person with the double name is the very person we are in 
search of appears from this also that he is praised for his skill in 
sangita-sdliitya, 'music and belles lettres.^ This fortieth year of 
Vallabha Deva corresponds to the S'aka year 1527 (a.d. 1605). It 
thus appears that Ati-Vira-Rama, the poet-king, came to the tlirone in 
A.D. 1565. A predecessor of his (apparently his immediate predecessor) 



was Vikrama Pandya (called also Kdsi kanda, he who visited Benares), 
the year of whose accession, according to an inscription in my posses- 
sion, was A.D. 1543 ; and he again was preceded by Parakrama Pandya, 
the year of whose accession, according to another inscription, was a.d. 
1516. The power of these princes, however, could have been little 
better than nominal ; for the lieutenants of the Egija of Vijayanagara, 
who came to Madura about the middle of that very century, at the 
unwise request, it is said, of the Pandya prince, to help him against 
the Cholas, never returned to Vijayanagara, but founded a new local 
dynasty (the Nayaks of Madura), who from that time forward relieved 
the Pandyan princes, first of the greater part, and then of the whole, 
of their power, and ruled the country in their own name, with scarcely 
any reference to Vijayanagara. I do not suppose that all or most of 
the works referred to as included in this cycle, were composed exactly 
within the limits of Ati-Vira-Eama Pandiyan's reign. Doubtless some 
were earlier than his time, some later ; but it was about his time that they 
were written. He appears to have been a great patron of literature, 
and his own name is the most distinguished amongst the writers of 
that time. It is related that it was at his request that the Madura 
Tiruvileiy^dal Puranam was translated from Sanskrit ; and doubtless 
this was not the only case of the kind that occurred. 

(6.) The Anti-Brahmanical Cycle. — I refer here to the compositions 
of the so-called S'ittar school — a series of compositions which occupy a 
position of their own in Tamil literature as regards both matter and 
style, so that, whatever be their age, they cannot well be included in any 
other cycle. The Siddhas or * sages ' (in Tamil S'ittar) were a Tamil 
sect, the adherents of which retained S'iva as the name of God, but 
rejected everything in the S'aiva system which was inconsistent with 
pure theism. They cultivated alchymy {rasdyana) as sedulously as the 
Arabians, from whom they appear to have derived their knowledge of 
it. One of their number is said to have visited Arabia, and another 
refers to the Franks. Several of them refer to the Turukkas, the name 
by which the Indian Muhammedans are known in the South. The 
poems of the Siddha school are wholly modern and colloquial, with 
grammatical forms unknown to the ancients ; but they make up by 
clearness and force for what they lack in classical refinement. The 
writers evidently believed what they wrote, and wished to produce an 
impression, especially on the common people. So far they are deser- 
ving of commendation ; but it was a peculiarity of theirs of which we 
cannot approve, that most of them took to themselves without warrant 
the names of liishis or of renowned teachers and poets. Thus one of 


them called himself Agastya, another Kapila, another S'ankara Acharya, 
another Gautama, another Tiruvalluvar. What is surprising is that 
this audacity was perfectly successful. The writers are now almost 
universally supposed to have lived at an early period ; and as the school 
has ceased to exist, this contributes to throw around their writings 
an air of antiquity. They are much quoted by native Christians, 
who generally fancy them to have been endowed with a prophetic 
spirit, and to have meant Christ by the Sat-Guru (true teacher) to 
whom they constantly refer. I have no doubt that they were more or. 
less acquainted with Christianity, and that their prophecies were after 
the event, like those of the Sybils of ancient Europe. Who could 
doubt the allusions to Christianity in the following 1 — 

" God is one and the Veda is one ; 
The disinterested, true Guru is one, and his initiatory rite one ; 
When this is obtained his heaven is one ; 
There is but one birth of men upon the earth, 
And only one way for all men to walk in : 
But as for those who hold four Vedas and six Shastras, 
And different customs for different people, 
And believe in a plurality of gods, 
Down they will go to the fire of hell ! " 

The author of this composition calls himself Konkanar, the name of 
one of the supposed disciples of Agastya. To me, however, he appears 
by the adoption of that name to identify himself with the neighbour- 
hood of Goa (in the Konkana country), the first place where Christian 
teachers from Europe formed a settlement, I quote the last stanza 
from a striking series of verses by a writer of this school on the 
identity of God and love — premising that the word used for God is 
Slvam, the neuter of S'iva — 

" The ignorant think that God and love are different. 
None knows that God and love are the same. 
Did all men know that God and love are the same, 
They would dwell together in peace, considering love as God." 

The writer calls himself Tirumula, the name of another supposed 
disciple of Agastya. Tirumula was the name also of one of ' the sixty- 
three' S'aiva devotees mentioned in the Tiruttondar purdnam; but 
this must have been a different person, for no one can attribute the 
idea conveyed in the verse quoted above to any but a Christian source. 
Another of the writers of this school is called Pattira-gwiydr (from 
the name of the place to which he belonged). I quote one verse out 
of more than two hundred of his Pulamhals or Lamentations, to illu- 


strate the anti-Brahmanical feeling pervading the writings of this 

" Oh ! when will the time come that I shall burn the S'^stras, and 
prove the four Yedas to be a lie, and discover the mystery, and obtain 
salvation 1 " 

Undoubtedly the most striking compositions emanating from mem- 
bers of this school are those contained in a book called ^iva-vdhyam, 
' Words about God/ the author of which is known only as ^iva-vdhyar, 
from the name of his book. I quote the following specimens as 
illustrations both of his matter and style. 

" As milk once drawn cannot again enter the udder, nor butter churned be 

recombined with, milk ; 
As sound cannot return to a broken conch, nor the life be restored to the body 

it left ; 
As a decayed leaf and a fallen flower cannot be reunited to the parent tree ; 
So man once dead is subject to no future birth." 


How many various flowers 

Did I, in bye-gone hours, 
Cull for the gods, and in their honour strew ; 

In vain how many a prayer 

I breathed into the air, 
And made, with many forms, obeisance due. 

J Beating my breast, aloud 

How oft I called the crowd 
To drag the village car ; how oft I stray'd, 

In manhood's prime, to lave 

Sunwards the flowing wave, 
And, circling Saiva fanes, my homage paid. 

But they, the truly wise, 

Who know and realise 
Where dwells the Shephekd of the Worlds,* will ne'er 

To any visible shrine, 

As if it were divine. 
Deign to raise hands of worship or of prayer. 

I quote the above poetical version of a remarkable stanza of S'iva- 
vakyar's from "Specimens of Tamil Poetry," by my son, Mr R. C. 

* Probably the poet hj Andar{'k)lc6n meant only 'king of the gods,' but the 
words used suggest the more poetical meaning given above. 


Caldwell, in tlie Indian Antiqiiary (Bombay) for April 1872. See also 
Mr Gover's " Dravidian Folk-songs." 

The poems of the Sittar school should be attributed, I think, to the 
seventeenth century. Looking at their matter and style, we might 
suppose them to have been written during the last century ; but the 
school from which these remarkable poems emanated has passed so 
entirely away without leaving a relic behind, that we seem to be 
obliged to place it a century earlier. Its nearest representative in 
the present day is the Brahma Samaj, some of the members of which 
advocate the semi- Christian theism of their school in excellent Tamil 

(7.) The Modern Writers. — I mean by these the writers of the 
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including perhaps a few who 
belonged to the close of the seventeenth. Books belonging to this period, 
though generally of little real value, appear to be exceedingly numerous 
— not perhaps because the number of books written was greater than 
in former times, but because many mediocre works which people would 
not care to preserve by copying have not yet had time to crumble of 
themselves into dust. Of the poems belonging to this period which 
have acquired a name, one of the earliest is the Tamil version of the 
Prabhu Linga Lil^, a translation from the Canarese, which is considered 
the finest composition in Tamil pertaining to the Vira S'aiva or Jan- 
gama sect. Another is a small ethical treatise called the Niti-neri- 
vilakkam, a portion of which is much used in schools. These belong 
to the close of the seventeenth century, to which period also probably 
belong the poems of Pattanattu Pillei. 

The post of honour, not only in the beginning of the eighteenth 
century, when they flourished, but throughout the entire modern 
period, is to be assigned to two contemporary poets, one a native, 
the other a foreigner. The former of these, Tayum^navar (' he who 
became a mother also,' the name of the manifestation of S'iva wor- 
shipped at Trichinopoly), was a religious-minded S'aiva, in whose 
poems it is believed that a distinct tinge of Christianity can be 
traced. He appears to have had opportunities of becoming acquainted 
with Christianity ; but however this may be, it is certain that his 
poems are characterised by much religious earnestness, as well as 
by much beauty of language. The other, whose poems occupy a still 
higher place in literature, was the celebrated Beschi, not a Tamilian, 
like every other Tamil poet, but an Italian, a missionary priest of 
the Jesuit order, who acquired such a mastery over Tamil, especially 
over its classical dialect, as no other European seems ever to have 


acquired over that or any other Indian language. His prose style in 
the colloquial dialect, though good, is not of preeminent excellence ; 
but his poems in the classical dialect, especially his great poem, the 
Tembavani, a long and highly wrought religious epic in the style of 
the Chintamani, are so excellent — from the point of view of Hindti 
ideas of excellence ; that is, they are so elaborately correct, so highly 
ornamented, so invariably harmonious — that I have no doubt he may 
fairly claim to be placed by the votes of impartial native critics them- 
selves in the very first rank of the Tamil poets of the second class ; 
and when it is remembered that the first class comprises only three, or 
at the utmost four, works — the Kural, the Chintamani, the Kama- 
yanam, the NM^diyar — it seems to me, the more I think of it, the more 
wonderful that a foreigner should have achieved so distinguished a 
position. Though the Tembavani possesses great poetical merit and 
exhibits an astonishing command of the resources of the language, 
unfortunately it is tinged with the fault of too close an adherence to 
the manner and style of ' the ancients ' — that is, of the Tamil classics 
— and is still more seriously marred by the error of endeavouring to 
HindAise the facts and narratives of Scripture, and even the geography 
of Scripture, for the purpose of pleasing the Hindil taste. It is a 
remarkable illustration of the difference in the position occupied in 
India at present by poetry and prose respectively, that Beschi's poetry, 
however much admired, is now very little read, whilst his prose works, 
particularly his grammars and dictionaries of both the Tamil dialects, 
are in great demand. 

The principal compositions of the latter part of the last century were 
dramas, hymns in praise of temples, and abbreviations of older works. 
In the present century an entirely new style of composition has 
appeared — viz., good colloquial prose, which, through the spread of 
European influences, seems likely to have a struggle for the mastery with 
poetry, in the Tamil literature of the future. The name of the father 
of this species of composition (in so far as Tamilians are concerned) 
deserves to be remembered. It was Tanclava-raj^a Mudaliyar, at one 
time a teacher in the College of Madras. To him we are indebted for 
the Tamil prose version of the Panchatantra, and, through the influence 
of his example, for versions of the Ramayana, the Maha-bharata, &c., 
in the same style of flowing and elegant, yet perfectly intelligible, 

There has been a considerable amount of literary activity, according 
to Dr Gundert, in Malayalam during the period under consideration, the 
Kerala Utpatti, or Origin of Kerala, with some other works of irapor- 



tance, having been written, he supposes, during the last century, 
before Hyder's invasion. 

The introduction of printing during the present century has given a 
powerful impulse, if not to the composition of new Tamil works, yet 
at least to the publication (and thereby to the preservation) of old ones. 
The following list of Tamil books printed in Madras up to 1865, com- 
pared with Bengali books printed in Calcutta, is taken from Murdoch's 
*' Classified Catalosrue of Tamil Printed Books." 


Protestant Books and Tracts, 

Koman Catholic Publications, 

Muhammedan Books, 

S aiva do. 

Vaishnava do. 

Vedantic do. 

Brahma Samaj do. 



Medicine, . 

Poetry and the Drama, 



























Tamil works surpass Bengali works in numbers, but it does not follow 
that they are of a higher character. Dr Murdoch asserts that they are 
not. He says, with regard to Madras publications, " Keprints of old 
books, or feeble modern imitations of them, constitute the great 
bulk of the issues of the native presses. There is far more intellectual 
activity in Bengal." 

This is not the proper place for attempting to furnish the reader 
with an estimate of the intrinsic value of Dravidian poetry. I have 
only space to remark here that, whilst an elevated thought, a natural, 
expressive description, a pithy, sententious maxim, or a striking com- 
parison, may sometimes be met with, unfortunately elegance of style 
has always been preferred to strength, euphony has been preferred to 
truthfulness, and poetic fire has been quenched in an ocean of conceits. 
Nothing can exceed the refined elegance and * linked sweetness ' of 
many Telugu and Tamil poems; but a lack of power and purpose, 
and a substitution of sound for sense, more or less characterise them 
all ; and hence, whilst an anthology composed of well-selected extracts 
would please and surprise the English reader, every attempt to trans- 
late any Tamil or Telugu poem in extenso into English, has proved to 
be a failure. 


It is deserving of notice tliat alliteration is of the essence of Dravi- 
dian poetry, as of the more modern Welsh; and that the Dravidians have 
as just a claim as the Welsh to the credit of the invention of rhyme. 
The rhyme of modern European poetry is supposed by some to have 
had a Welsh or Celtic origin ; but Dravidian rhyme was invented by 
Dravidians. The chief peculiarity of Dravidian rhyme consists in its 
seat being, not at the end of the line, but at the beginning — a natural 
result of its origin in a love of alliteration. The rule in each Dravidian 
dialect is that the consonant which intervenes between the first two 
vowels in a line is the seat of rhyme. A single Tamil illustration must 
suffice : — 

" sirei (t)te^il, 
erei (t)tedu." — Auveiyar. 

" If you seek for prosperity, 
Seek for a plough." 

The agreement of those two consonants constitutes the minimum of 
rhyme which is admissible ; but often the entire first foot of one line 
rhymes with the same foot in the second ; sometimes the second feet 
in each line also rhyme ; and the rhyme is sometimes taken up again 
further on in the verse, according to fixed laws in each variety of 

The mental physiology of the Indo-European and Dravidian races 
respectively is illustrated by their literature. It is illustrated in a still 
greater degree by their languages, and even by the systems of sound 
which are characteristic of those languages. The languages of the 
Indo-European class are fond of combining clashing consonants, and 
welding them into one syllable by sheer force of enunciation ; and it is 
certain that strength and directness of character and scorn of difficulties 
are characteristics not only of the Indo-European languages, but of the 
races by which those languages are spoken. On the other hand, the 
Dravidian family of languages prefers softening away difficulties to 
grappling with them : it aims at ease and softness of enunciation rather 
than impressiveness. Multiplying vowels, separating consonants, assimi- 
lating differences of sound, and lengthening out its words by successive 
agglutinations, it illustrates the mental characteristics of the races by 
which it is spoken, by the soft, sweet, garrulous effeminacy of its 

Perhaps, however, the chief cause of the inferiority of Dravidian 
poetry, as a whole, to Indo-European poetry, as a whole, is to be found 
not so much in its preference of elegance to strength, as in its subjec- 


tion to the authority of precedent and custom, which is at least as com- 
plete as anything we meet with in later Sanskrit. 

Literature could never be expected to flourish, and where it had 
ceased to flourish could never be expected to revive, where the follow- 
ing distich (contained in the " Nan-ntil," or classical Tamil grammar) 
was accepted as a settled principle : — 

" On whatsoever subjects, in whatsoever expressions, with whatsoever arrange- 
Classical writers have written, so to write is denoted propriety of style.^' 

For the last two hundred years Dravidian literature appears to have 
made but little real progress. This is sometimes attributed by natives 
to the discouraging effect of foreign domination, but it seems far more 
largely owing to the natural tendency to decay and death which is 
inherent in a system of slavery to the authority of great names. 

Now that native education has commenced to make real progress, 
and the advantages of European knowledge, European civilisation, and 
European Christianity are becoming known and felt by so many of the 
HindHs themselves, it may be expected that the Dravidian mind will 
ere long shake itself free from its thraldom, and be stimulated to enter 
upon a new and brighter career. If the national mind and heart were 
stirred to so great a degree a thousand years ago by the diffusion of 
Jainism, and some centuries later by the dissemination of the S'aiva 
and Vaishnava doctrines, it is reasonable to expect still more important 
results from the propagation of the grand and soul-stirring truths of 
Christianity, and from the contact of the minds of the youth with the 
ever-progressive literature and science of the Christian nations of the 

It is a great and peculiar advantage of the English and vernacular 
education which so many Hindlis are now receiving from European 
missionaries and from Government teachers, that it is communicated to 
all who wish to receive it without distinction of caste. In former ages 
the education of the lower castes and classes was either prohibited or 
sedulously discouraged ; but now the youth of the lower classes are 
being admitted to the same educational advantages as those enjoyed by 
the higher castes. The hitherto uncultivated minds of the lower and 
far most numerous classes of the Hindti community are now for the 
first time in history being brought within the range of humanising and 
elevating influences. A virgin soil is now for the first time being 
ploughed, turned up to the air and light, and sown with the seed of 
life ; and in process of time we may reasonably expect to reap a rich 
crop of intellectual and moral results. 


In the Appendix I have adduced the evidence formerly contained in 
the Introduction, proving that Tuda, Kota, G6nd, and Ku are Dra- 
vidian tongues, and have also reprinted son^e remarks on the late 
Mr Gover's " Folk Songs of Southern India." I have added an 
excursus on Sundara Pandya, and I have endeavoured to answer the 
question, "Are the Pareiyas and the Tudas Dra vidians ? " and have 
subjoined some remarks " On the Dravidian physical type," and " On 
the religion of the ancient Dravidian tribes." 




All foreign words, to whatever family of languages they may belong, 
are represented in this work in Roman characters, for the double pur- 
pose of preventing unnecessary expense and trouble, and of facilitat- 
ing comparison. 

Long vowels are invariably marked thus, — d: when no such 
accent is placed over a vowel, it is intended that it should be pro- 
nounced short. E and o, being invariably long in Sanskrit, are left 
unaccented in the transliteration of Sanskrit words in works treating 
of Sanskrit. The Dravidian languages having short e and o, as well 
as long, it is to be understood that they are to be pronounced short 
when unaccented.* 

All vowels are pronounced in the Continental manner, ei, as will 
be explained, corresponds to the Sanskrit ai. 

The " lingual " or " cerebral " consonants are denoted by a sub- 
scribed dot — e.g., tf d, n: the peculiar vocalic r, and the surd /, of the 
South Indian languages are denoted in a similar manner — e.g., r, I: 
the obscure, inorganic nasal n ot m is represented by n with a super- 
scribed line — e.g., n: the nasal of the guttural row of consonants, 
ordinarily represented by ng, is written n ; the nasal of the palatal 
row, ordinarily written nj or wy, is written ri ; and the hard rough 
r is represented by a heavier letter r. 

The dental d in Tamil, and the corresponding ^ or c? in Malayalam, 
are pronounced in the middle of a word, or between two vowels, like 
the English th in than ; and in Telugu, / and ch, when followed by 
certain vowels, are pronounced like dz and ts : but as these are 
merely peculiarities of pronunciation, and one consonant is not 
exchanged for another, no change has been made in the characters 
by which those sounds are represented. 

I have found it very difficult to determine how the third consonant 
in Tamil, answering to the Sanskrit ch, should be represented. The 
difficulty is owing to the circumstance that its pronunciation, when 
doubled, differs considerably from its pronunciation when single. 
When single, its pronunciation closely resembles that of the Sanskrit 

* Dr Burnell, in his " Specimens of South Indian Dialects," No. 1, Konkanl 
(Mangalore, 1872), mentions that Professor H. H. Wilson, being accustomed to 
Bpeak North Indian dialects •nly, used always -to say T4lngu, instead of Telugu. 


^; when doubled, it is identical with that of the Sanskrit chch. I 
have thought it best, therefore, to represent it by these letters. This 
is the way in which I have dealt with the other Tamil letters, the 
pronunciation of which, when single, differs from their pronunciation 
when double ; — e.g., d, which, when doubled, I have represented, as the 
pronunciation requires, as tt; and d, which, when doubled, becomes 
in like manner ft. 

There is a tendency in all the Dravidian languages to pronounce e as 
'^ if it were ^e, and o as if it were wo. In colloquial Tamil, this pronun- 
ciation, though often heard, is seldom represented in writing ; but in 
modern Canarese and Telugu, y before e, and v or w before o, are often 
written as well as pronounced. In Canarese and Tulu grammars, it has 
become customary, in rendering words in the Roman character, to write 
ye for e, and wo for o, even where the native characters employed are e 
and alone — e.g., Can., wondu, one, and yeradu, two, instead of ondu 
and eradu. As this euphonic change seems to be a corruption, not a 
primitive dialectic peculiarity, and as it tends to hinder comparison 
with the other dialects, all such words will be written in this work 
without the y or v, and it will be left to the reader who is acquainted 
with the native usage to pronounce those words as usage requires. 
This usage prevails also, it seems, in Mar^thi and Konkani ; and Dr 
Pope, in his '' Outlines of the Grammar of the Tuda Language," points 
out the existence of traces of this usage even in English — e.g., " ewe " 
is pronounced " yew " and " one " " won." This he attributes to 
Celtic influences. As regards the Dravidian languages, it does not 
seem necessary to suppose this peculiarity to be one of any great 
antiquity, seeing that the spelling of Dravidian words has always been 
phonetic ; and hence y and v would have been written as well as 
pronounced, if this pronunciation had been prevalent at the time the 
languages were first committed to writing. The people in the neigh- 
bourhood of Madura, where the purest Tamil is supposed to be spoken, 
pride themselves on pronouncing initial e and o pure.* 

* Europeans often notice the appearance of this peculiarity in the pronuncia- 
tion of English by the people of South India. " Every " becomes "yevery," and 
"over" "woven" One of the best illustrations of this peculiarity I have heard 
was mentioned to me by some members of my family. As they were travelling 
along a road in Tinnevelly, they passed a finger-post at a cross road, on which 
the name of a place was inscribed in English. They did not catch the name as 
they passed, and therefore sent back a native girl to find it out for them. The 
girl knew very little English, and on her return said she could not make out 
the name, but could repeat the letters. " What were they ? " Answer — " Yen, 
yeh, yell, yell, woe, woe, war ! " These dreadful sounds represented the name 
** Nalloor." 




It will be my endeavour in this section to elucidate the law3 of sound 
by which the Dravidian languages are characterised. Special notice 
will be taken of those regular interchanges of sound in the different 
dialects which enable us to identify words under the various shapes 
they assume, and to which it will frequently be necessary to allude in 
the subsequent sections of this work. 

Dravidian Alphabets. — Before entering on the examination of the 
Dravidian sounds, it is desirable to make some preliminary observa- 
tions on the alphabets of the Dravidian languages. 

There are three different Dravidian alphabets at present in use, viz., 
the Tamil, the Malayalam, and the Telugu-Canarese. I class the 
Telugu and the Canarese characters together, as constituting but one 
alphabet; for though there are differences between them, those dif- 
ferences are few and very unimportant. Tulu has ordinarily been 
written hitherto in the MalayMam character, but Canarese characters 
are now used in the books printed at the German Mission Press at 
Mangalore. It is this character which is used in Brigel's Tulu 
Grammar. The Ku grammar of which I have made use is written in 
the characters of the Oriya — characters which are less appropriate than 
those of the Telugu would have been for expressing the Ku sounds. 
The other uncultivated dialects of this family have hitherto been con- 
tent to have their sounds expressed in the Roman character. 

The three Dravidian alphabets which have been mentioned above, 
viz., the Tamil, the Malayalam, and the Telugu-Canarese, together with 
their older but now obsolete shapes, and the Gvaniha, or character in 
which Sanskrit is written in the Tamil country, have all been derived, 


it is supposed, from the early Deva-ndgari, or rather from the still 
earlier characters contained in Asoka's inscriptions — characters which 
have been altered and disguised by natural and local influences, and 
especially by the custom, universal in the Dekhan, of' writing on the 
leaf of the palmyra palm with an iron stylus. 

The following remarks of Mr Beames (" Comparative Grammar of 
the Modern Aryan Languages of India," Introduction, pp. 62-66) show 
clearly how these alterations have taken place : — " The Oriya characters, 
in their present form, present a marked similarity to those employed 
by the neighbouring non-Aryan nations, whose alphabets have been 
borrowed from the Sanskrit ; I mean, the Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, 
Singhalese, and Burmese. The chief peculiarity in the type of all 

ll these alphabets consists in their spreading out the ancient Indian 
letters into the elaborate maze of circular and curving forms. This 
roundness is the prevailing mark of them all, though it is more remark- 

^ able in the Burmese than in any other ; Burmese letters being entirely 
globular, and having hardly such a thing as a straight line among 
them. The straight, angular letters which Asoka used are exhibited 
in the inscriptions found at Seoni on the Narmad^ (Nerbudda) in more 
than their pristine angularity, but adorned with a great number of 
additional lines and squares, which render them almost as complicated 
as the glagolitic alphabet of St Cyril. The next modification of these 
letters occurs in the inscriptions found at Amravati on the Kistua, 
where the square boxes have been in many instances rounded off into 
semicircles. From this alphabet follow all the Dravidian and the 
Singhalese ; probably also we may refer to this type the Burmese and 
even the Siamese, and the beautiful character in use in Java, which is 
evidently of Aryan origin, as its system of Pasangans, or separate 
forms for the second letter of a nexus, and Sandangans, or vowel and 
diacritical signs, sufficiently testify. 

" Whether the Oriyas received the art of writing from Bengal or 

from Central India is a question still under dispute Assuming 

that they got their alphabet from Central, rather than from Northern, 
India, the reason of its being so round and curling has now to be 
explained. In all probability, in the case of Oriya, as in that of the 
other languages which I have mentioned above, the cause is to be 
found in the material used for writing. The Oriyas and all the popu- 
lations living on the coasts of the Bay of Bengal write on the Talpatra, 
or leaf of the fan-palm, or palmyra (Borassus jlabelliformis). The leaf 
of this tree is like a gigantic fan, and is split up into strips about two 
inches in breadth or less, according to the size of the leaf, each strip 
being one naturally-formed fold of the fan. On these leaves, when 


dried and cut into proper lengths, they write with an iron style, or 
Lekhani, having a very fine sharp point. Now, it is evident that if 
the long, straight, horizontal matr^, or top line of the Deva-n%art 
alphabet, were used, the style in forming it would split the leaf, 
because, being a palm, it has a longitudinal fibre, going from the stalk 
to the point. Moreover, tlie style being held in the right hand and 
the leaf in the left, the thumb of the left hand serves as a fulcrum on 
which the style moves, and thus naturally imparts a circular form to 
the letters. Perhaps the above explanation may not seem very con- 
vincing to European readers ; but no one who has ever seen an Oriya 
working away with both hands at his Lekhani and TMpatra will 
question the accuracy of the assertion ; and though the fact may not 
be of much value, I may add, that the native explanation of the origin 
of their alphabet agrees with this. . . . The Oriya letters, however, 
have departed less from the early type than those of their neighbours 
the Telingas, . . . Without going through the whole alphabet letter 
by letter, it may suffice to say in general terms, that the Oriya cha- 
racters show signs of having arisen from a form of the Kutila character 
prevalent in Central India, and that its love of circular forms, common 
to it and the neighbouring nations, is due to the habit of writing on the 
TMpatra, Talipot, or palm-leaf, with an iron style." 

It was supposed by Mr Ellis, and the supposition has gained cur- 
rency, that before the immigration of the Brahmans into the Tamil 
country, the ancient Tamilians were acquainted with the art of writ- 
ing ; that the Brahmans recombined the Tamil characters which they 
found in use, adding a few which were necessary for the expression 
of sounds peculiar to Sanskrit; and that from this amalgamation, 
which they called Grantha, or the book {grantha lipi, or " the book 
character"), the existing Tamil characters have been derived. There 
can be little doubt of the derivation of the Tamil character in ordinary 
use from the Grantha ; for some characters are identical with Grantha 
letters which are still in use, and others with more ancient forms of 
the Grantha ; but the other part of the hypothesis, viz., the existence 
of a Prse-Sanskrit Tamil character, out of which the Grantha itself was 
developed, is more doubtful ; and though it is true that there is a 
native Tamil word which signifies " a letter," and another which signi- 
fies " a book,'' yet there is no direct proof of the existence of Tamil 
characters older than the time of the arrival of the first Brahman 
immigrants. The character called Hala Kannada, or old Canarese, 
and the various characters in which Tamil is found to be written in 
old inscriptions, seem to me to be founded on the basis of an alpha- 
betical system which was originally intended for the use of Sanskrit. 


Mr Edward Thomas, in an article on "Recent Pelilvi Decipher- 
ments/' in the Jour. R.A.S. for 1871, has put forth a theory allied to, 
but not identical with, Mr Ellis's. He supposes the earliest characters 
in which Sanskrit or the Prakrits were expressed — that is, the cha- 
racters used in Asoka's edicts — to have had a Dravidian origin ; that 
they were originally invented to meet the requirements of Turanian 
(Dravidian) dialects ; and that the principal change eflfected when the 
" normal Dravidian alphabet " was converted into the " Prakrit or Lat 
alphabet," consisted in the system of means adopted for the expression 
of the aspirates. Mr Thomas considers that the Lat alphabet made a 
difference between short and long c, though the form used for the 
latter is made to do duty for ai. On the other hand, " the oldest 
known Dravidian alphabet," published by Dr Burnell, which is to be 
described presently, makes no difference between long e and short, 
which is one of the arguments that may be adduced in favour of the 
theory of the derivation of that alphabet from the Sanskritic alphabet 
of Asoka. 

The characters used in certain early Tamil inscriptions, such as the 
sdsanas, or royal grants, in the possession of the Jews of Cochin and 
the Syrian Christians on the Malabar coast, deserve special considera- 
tion. The inscriptions themselves were published and interpreted 
many years ago in the Journal of the Madras Literary/ Society. They 
are written in the Tamil language, though in an idiom which is slightly 
tinged with the peculiarities of Malayalam. The alphabet of these 
inscriptions has been printed by Dr Burnell, of the Madras Civil Ser- 
vice, in the Ijidian Antiquary for August 1872 (Bombay). The 
characters have been taken from a facsimile of the copper sdsanas in 
the possession of the Jews and Syrians in Cochin, one of which has 
been ascertained, from the astronomical data contained in it, to be 
dated in a.d. 774. Dr Burnell says of these sdsanas, " Palaeographi- 
cally they are of the greatest value, for they are the oldest inscriptions 
in Southern India that have yet been discovered, and give the oldest 
form of the ancient Tamil alphabet. It appears to have fallen into 
disuse in the Tamil country about the tenth century, but was generally 
in use in Malabar up to the end of the seventeenth. It is still occa- 
sionally used for deeds in Malabar ; but in a more modern form, and 
still more changed, it is the character used by the Mllpillas of North 
Malabar and the islands off the coast." 1 formed for myself an alpha- 
bet of these characters many years ago, and have found it used in 
inscriptions in Tinnevelly as late as the twelfth century, if not later ; 
but an old variety of the existing Tamil character was also in use at 
the same time. The latter character seems to have been introduced 


into Tinnevelly and the extreme south of Travancore during the 
supremacy of the Chola kings. I am therefore inclined to call it the 
Chola character. Rajendra Chola's inscriptions (in the eleventh century 
A.D.) are in this character. I have found inscriptions of the time of 
Sundara Pandiya (called also Chola-P^ndiya) in both characters ; and 
though unable at present to determine with accuracy the date of Sun- 
dara's reign, I have no hesitation in placing it several generations later 
than that of Rajendra Chola. Dr Burn ell considers the Tamil-Malay S,- 
lam character of the Jewish and Syrian inscriptions the origin of the 
character used in the Asoka edicts, and thinks that *' the only possible 
theory of the origin of the character of the Southern inscriptions is 
that it is an importation brought by traders from the Red Sea, and 
thence from Phoenicia, and is therefore of Egyptian origin eventually. 
In many respects the old Tamil alphabet resembles that of the Him- 
yaritic inscriptions found in Yemen. In one respect it differs remark- 
ably from that (the Himyaritic) alphabet, but agrees with the Ethiopia 
— in that the consonants are modified by the addition of the vowels." 
These suggestions are well worthy of further consideration ; but for the 
present they seem to me to be hardly in accordance with the facts with 
which we are acquainted respecting the history of Indian culture. 
That the character of the Asoka inscriptions (in the third century B.C.) 
was gradually modified into the Tamil-MalayMam character (the earliest 
dated specimen of which belongs, as we have seen, to a.d. 774), in the 
lapse of centuries, and in the progress of literature from the original 
seats of the Aryans to the extreme south, may surely be regarded as 
more probable in itself than that the Asoka character was nothing 
more than an adoption or imitation of the Tamil-Malayalam character, 
even though we should grant that the latter may originally have pre- 
sented some differences of form — of which, however, there is now no 

The fact that the " oldest known South Indian alphabet " makes no 
distinction between long and short e, or long and short o, but has only // ^f 
one character for each vowel, like the Sanskrit alphabets and the 
modern MalayMam, whilst it has different characters for the long and 
short forms of the other vowels, a, i, u, tends to show that it was framed 
originally for the expression of Sanskrit sounds, not for those of the 
Dravidian languages. On the other hand, may it not be said that 
the fact that different characters are provided in Asoka's alphabet 
for the expression of the dental and the lingual sounds respectively, 
points to the origination of that alphabet amongst a people in whose 
system of sounds that difference was of more essential importance than 
it is in Sanskrit % It will be seen, in the section on the Origin of the 



Lingual or Cerebral Sounds, that whilst the difference in question 
seems to have been in Sanskrit the result of gradual development, it 
enters into the very essence of the means whereby the simplest and 
most necessary ideas are differentiated in Tamil and other Dravidian 
languages. On the whole, the question of the origination of the 
Indian written characters — that is, the question whether Asoka's cha- 
racters were derived from the Dravidian or the Dravidian from Asoka's 
— does not yet appear to me to be conclusively settled. For the pre- 
sent, I am inclined, with Mr Beames, to prefer the latter solution. 

Since the above was written, I have seen some of the inscriptions 
referred to by Dr Eggeling in his paper on the Chera Dynasty, read 
before the International Congress of Orientalists in London, 1874; 
and in these inscriptions, which are considerably older than the Syrian 
and Jewish ones (the oldest is dated in a.d. 247), I find that the 
characters used do not resemble those referred to by Dr Burnell, but 
agree substantially with those in which Sanskrit was written at that 
period in North India. The characters may best be described as an 
archaic form of the Hala Kannada. 

Much information on the subject of Indian characters is contained 
in Mr Edward Thomas's edition of " Prinsep's Essays on Indian Anti- 
quities." The question of the origin of the South Indian characters is 
one which requires, and which would probably reward, further research. 
It is much to be wished that all the Southern alphabets, ancient and 
modern, were compared with one another and with the characters used 
in Northern and Central India and Barma, and especially with those 
found in inscriptions in Ceylon. The characters which Jambulus pro- 
fesses to have found in use in Ceylon do not perfectly suit any characters 
which are known to have existed. The impression left on my mind is, 
that they were mainly " developed out of his inner consciousness." 

The modern Telugu-Canarese differs considerably from the modern 
Tamil, and departs more widely than the Tamil from the Deva-n^gari 
type ; but there is a marked resemblance between some of the Telugu- 
Canarese characters and the corresponding characters found in the 
sdsanas of Cochin. The modern Malayalam character is manifestly 
derived from the Tamilian Grantha. 

On the whole, there seems to be reason to conclude that all the 
alphabetical characters which are used or known in Southern India 
have a common origin, whether or no their origin is the same as 
that of the existing alphabets of Northern India, namely, the system 
of characters in which Sanskrit was first written. The greatness of 
the difference between the Southern and the modern Northern alpha- 
bets arises probably from the greater antiquity of the literary culti- 


vation of the Southern vernaculars, as compared with the Northern. 
The Southern vernaculars appear to have begun to be cultivated in 
that early period when the " cave character " was used : the Northern 
vernaculars were not cultivated, and can scarcely be said to have 
existed, till after the "cave character" had become obsolete, and had 
been superseded by the later Deva-n^gari. The Telugu and the Cana- 
rese alphabets have been arranged on the model of the Deva-nagari, or 
at least they correspond thereto in power and arrangement. The only 
difference is, that a short e and o, and a hard r, which is unknown to 
Sanskrit, are contained in those alphabets, together with a surd /, 
which is not used in modern Sanskrit, but is found in the Sanskrit 
of the Vedas, as well as in the Dravidian languages. Old Canarese 
possesses also the vocalic r of Tamil and Malay^lam. In other re- 
spects the characters of those alphabets are convertible equivalents of 
the Deva-n%ari. The Malay al am alphabet generally agrees with the 
Telugu and the modern Canarese : it differs from them in having the 
vocalic r of the Tamil, in addition to the other characters mentioned 
above ; and in having only one character for long and short e, and 
another for long and short o. The aspirated letters and sibilants which 
all those alphabets have borrowed from Sanskrit, are seldom used 
except in pronouncing and writing Sanskrit derivatives. Those letters 
are not really required for native Dravidian purposes j though, through 
the prevalence of Sanskrit influences, they have acquired a place in the 
pronunciation of a few words which are not derived from Sanskrit. 
The letters ch and j are pronounced in Telugu in certain situations U 
and dj ; but no additional characters are employed to represent those 

The Tamil alphabet differs more widely than the Malay^lam or the 
Telugu- Canarese from the arrangement of the Deva-nagari. The 
grammar of the Tamil language having, to a considerable degree, been 
systematised and refined independently of Sanskrit influences, and 
Sanskrit modes of pronunciation being almost unknown to Tamilians,. 
the phonetic system of Tamil demanded, and has secured for itself, 
a faithful expression in the Tamil alphabet. The materials of that 
alphabet appear to be wholly, or in the main, Sanskrit ; but the use 
which is made of those materials is Tamilian. 

The following are the principal peculiarities of the Tamil alphabet. 

In common with the Telugu and Canarese alphabets, the Tamil 
alphabet possesses separate characters for long and short e, and for 
long and short o. Formerly it had but one character for the long and 
short sounds of these vowels ; and it is believed that the marks by 
which the long are now distinguished from the short were first iutro- 


duced by the celebrated missionary Beschi. The Tamil has no char- 
acters corresponding to the liquid semi-vowels ri and Iri, which are 
classed amongst vowels by Sanskrit grammarians; and it has not 
adopted the anusvdraf or obscure nasal, of Sanskrit. Much use is 
made of nasals in Tamil ; but those nasals are firm, decided sounds, 
not "echoes," and are classed amongst consonants by native gram- 
marians, m is the natural sound of the Tamil nasal, and this sound 
is uniformly retained at the end of words and before labials. When 
followed by a guttural, m is changed into ?**, the nasal of the guttural 
row of consonants ; and it is changed in a similar manner into ri, n, or 
Uf according as it is followed by a palatal, a cerebral, or a dental. The 
Tamil alphabet has nothing to correspond with the half anusvdra of 
the Telugu — a character and sound peculiar to that language. Never- 
theless, the tendency to euphonise hard consonants by prefixing and 
combining nasals, from which the half anitsvdra has arisen, is in full 
operation in Tamil. 

Tamil makes no use whatever of aspirates, and has not borrowed 
any of the aspirated consonants of Sanskrit, nor even the isolated 
aspirate h. It professes to possess a letter, half vowel, half consonant, 
corresponding in some respects to the Sanskrit visarga, and called 
dydam (that which is subtle, minute). It is pronounced like a 
guttural h, but is only found in the poets, and is generally considered 
a pedantical invention of the grammarians. 

In arranging the consonants, the Tamil alphabet follows the Deva- 
n^gari in respect of the vargas, or rows, in which the Sanskrit con- 
sonants are classified and arranged. It adopts, however, only the 
first and the last consonant of each row, omitting altogether the inter- 
mediate letters. In the first or guttural row, the Tamil alphabet 
adopts ^, and its corresponding nasal n, omitting hh^ g, and gh : in 
the second or palatal row, it adopts cA, and its corresponding nasal Jt, 
omitting cM, /, and jh : in the third or cerebral row, it adopts f, and 
its nasal n^ omitting th, d, and dh : in the fourth or dental row, it 
adopts t, and its nasal ?^, omitting th, cf, and dh : in the fifth or labial 
row, it adopts p^ and its nasal m, omitting ph, h, and bh. 

Thus the Tamil alphabet omits not only all the aspirated conson- 
ants of the Deva-nagari, but also all its soft or sonant letters. The 
sounds which are represented by the sonants of the Deva-nagari are 
as commonly used in Tamil as in Sanskrit ; but in accordance with a 
peculiar law of sound (to be explained hereafter), which requires the 
same letter to be pronounced as a surd in one position, and as a sonant 
in another, Tamil uses one and the same character for representing 
both sounds ; and the character which has been adopted for this pur- 



pose by the Tamil alphabet is that which corresponds to the first 
consonant — viz., the tenuis or surd in each of the Deva-n^gari vargas. 

In the varga of the semi-vowels, Tamil follows the Deva-nagari ; 
but it subjoins to that varga a row of four letters which are not con- 
tained in the Deva-n^gart. These letters are a deep liquid r, which 
will always be represented in this work as r/ a harsh, rough ?•, which 
will be represented as r; /, a peculiar surd /, with a mixture of r; 
and n, a letter to which it is unnecessary to affix any distinctive mark, 
the difference between it and the n of the dental varga being one of 
form rather than of sound. This n is that which is invariably used as 
a final, and it is also much used, in combination with r, to represent 
the peculiar Tamil sound of ndr. 

The Tamil alphabet is destitute of the Sanskrit sibilants s, sh, and 
s. The second and third of these sibilants are occasionally used in 
pronouncing and writing Sanskrit derivatives; but these letters are 
never found in the ancient grammars of Tamil, or in the classics, nor 
have they a place in the Tamil alphabet : when used, they are borrowed 
from the Grantha, from which a few other letters also are occasionally 
borrowed to express Sanskrit sounds. The first of the three Sanskrit 
characters referred to above, namely, the s of ^iva., is never used at 
all in pure Tamil : the Tamil palatal or semi-sibilant which corre- 
sponds to the Sanskrit ch, and which is pronounced as a soft s or sh 
when single, and as chch or 66 when doubled, is the letter which is 
used instead. 

The following comparative view of the Deva-n^gari and the Tamil 
alphabets exhibits the relations which the one bears to the other. 

Sanskrit a, a : i, i: u, H : ri, rt : Irt 
Tamil a, d : i, i: Uj 4: .• — , 

— e:at: — 6 : aH : n : ah 
?, e : ei r o, 6 : aH : — .• — h 




h, hh , 

• ff, 

gh . 

• h 



h — 

• n 



ch, chh 

• J\ 


• n 



c\- . 

' — 

• n 



t, th . 


dh . 

' n 



u — . 


' ^ 



t, th . 


dh . 

• n 



t, - . 

• n 



p, ph . 


bh . 

• m 



P, — . 



14 ♦ SOUNDS. 

Consonants — continued. 
Semi-vowels, Sans. y, r, I, v 

Ditto, Tamil y, r, I, v; 

Sibilants and aspirate, 

Sans. i, sh, s, h 
Ditto, Tamil 

* "Early Printing in India," a paper by Dr Burnell, M.C.S., in the Bombay 
Antiquary for March 1873. — "The art of printing was introduced into India by 
the Goa Jesuits about the middle of the sixteenth centary, but they printed only 
in the Roman character at first. Father Estevad {i.e., Stephens, an Englishman), 
about 1600, speaks of the Roman character as exclusively used for writing Kon- 
kani, and the system of transcription which he used in his Konkani Grammar 
{Arte de lingoa Canarin) and Purann is really worthy of admiration. It is based 
on the Portuguese pronunciation of the alphabet, but is accurate and complete, 
and has been used by the numerous Konkani Roman Catholics of the west coast 
of India up to the present time. In the seventeenth century the Jesuits appear 
to have had two presses at Goa ; in their College of St Paul at Goa, and in their 
house at Rachol. Few specimens of their work have been preserved, but there 
is ample evidence that they printed a considerable number of books, and some of 
large size. About the end of the seventeenth century, it became the practice at 
Goa to advance natives to high office in the Church, and from that time ruin and 
degradation began, and the labours of the early Jesuits disappeared. Literature 
was entirely neglected, and the productions of the early presses were probably 
used as waste paper by the monks, or left to certain destruction by remaining 
unused and uncared for on their bookshelves. There is, however, in the Cochin 
territory, a place quite as famous as Goa in the history of printing in India. 
Often mentioned by travellers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, 
Ambalacdtta {i.e., Amhalakhddu, or ' Church wood') is not to be found on the 
maps, and recent inquirers have supposed that the site is forgotten, and that 
inquiry was useless. The late Major Carr appears to have arrived at this conclu- 
sion after visiting Goa in order to get information about it. The place, however, 
still remains, but as a small village with a scanty population of schismatic Nes- 
torians ; it is inland from Cranganore, and a few miles to the north of Angamali. 
The Jesuits appear to have built here a seminary and church dedicated to St 
Thomas soon after 1550, and in consequence of the results of the Synod of Uda- 
yompura, presided over by Alexius Menezes, Archbishop of Goa, in 1599, it 
became a place of great importance to the mission. Sanskrit, Tamil, Malayalam, 
and Syriac were studied by the Portuguese Jesuits residing there with great 
success,^ and several important works were printed, of which, however, we have 
only the names left us, as recorded by F. de Souza and others, and still later by 
Fr. Paulinus. The last tells us that 'Anno 1679 in oppido Ambalacdtta in lig- 
num incisi alii characteres Tamulici per Ignatium Aichamoni indigenam Malaba- 
rensem, iisque in lucem prodiit opus inscriptum : Vocabulario Tamuelco com a 
signijicdgao Portugueza composto pello P. Antem de Proen<^a da Camp, de Jesu, 
Miss, de Maduri.' The first Malabar-Tamil (? Malayfi,lam) types had been cut by 
a lay brother of the Jesuits, Joannes Gonsalves, at Cochin, in 1577. Ambalac&tta 

1 The German Jesuit Hanxleden, who died at Pds'ur (in South Malabar) in 1732, possessed 
a comprehensive knowledge of Sanskrit literature. 


' Dravidian System of Sounds. — "We now proceed to inquire into 
the sounds of the Dravidian letters, and the laws of sound or phonetic 
system of this family of languages ; and in doing so, it will be found 
advantageous to adhere to the order and arrangement of the Deva- 
n^gari alphabet. It is not my object to explain in detail the pronun- 
ciation of each letter, but such observations will be made on each 
vowel and consonant in succession as seem likely to throw light on 
the principles and distinctive character of the Dravidian system of 
sounds. Tamil grammarians designate vowels by a beautiful metaphor, 
as uyir or the life of a word ; consonants as mey, or the body ; and * 
the junction of a vowel and consonant as UTjir mey, or an animated 

I. Vowels. — (1.) d and d. The sound of these vowels in the 
Dravidian languages corresponds to their sound in Sanskrit, as pro- 
nounced everywhere in India except in Bengal, where d is pronounced 
as 6. In Tamil, d is the heaviest of all the simple vowels, and there- 
fore the most liable to change. It evinces a tendency to be weakened 
into e — (comp. Sanskrit halariy strength, with Tamil helan; Sanskrit 
japa, prayer, with Tamil sebam. See also the pronoun of the first 
person.) In the other dialects it maintains its place more firmly; 
but even in them it is ordinarily strengthened at the end of words by ^ 
the addition of the euphonic syllable vu, consisting of the enunciative 
vowel u, and the v euphonically used to prevent hiatus, d has almost ' 
entirely disappeared from the end of nouns in Tamil, and has been , 
succeeded by u or ei. Where final a changes into ei in Tamil, it ' 
generally changes into e in Canarese, or else it is propped up by the 
addition of vu. In Telugu, and especially in Malayalam, this vowel is 
less subject to change. Neuter plurals of appellatives and pronouns, 
which originally ended in a in all the dialects, and which still end 
in a in Malayalam, now end in most instances in ei in colloquial 
Tamil, in i in Telugu, and in u in Canarese. Thus, ava, those (things), 

was destroyed by order of Tipu, when his army invaded Cochin and Travancore ; 
a true barbarian and savage, he spared neither Christians nor Hindus, and to him 
attaches the infamy of destroying most of the ancient Sanskrit MSS. which time 
had spared in Southern India. Brahmans have yet stories current how in those 
times their ancestors had to flee to the forests with a few of their most precious 
books and possessions, leaving the remainder to the flames." I may add to the 
above Fr. Paulinus's statement, that the title of the book printed in 1577 was the 
" Doctrina Christiana," which was followed the next year by a book entitled the 
" Flos Sanctorum." After mentioning the Tamil Dictionary, printed in 1679, he 
adds, " From that period the Danish missionaries at Tranquebar have printed 
many works." • 


16 • SOUNDS. 

Las become avei in Tamil, avi in Telugu, avu in Canarese : in Malay- 
^lam alone it is still ava. 

The long d, which is formed in Tamil by the coalescence of two short 
as, becomes poetically 6. Vinna-v-ar, heavenly ones, becomes vintidr. 
In old Canarese, even short a becomes sometimes o. The long final d 
of Sanskrit feminine abstracts becomes in Tamil ei — «.(/., dsd, Sans., 
desire, Tam. dsei; Chitrd, Sans., April — May, Tam., ^ittirei. The 
same d becomes e in Canarese — e.g., Gangd, the Ganges, is in Canarese 
Gauge or Gange-yu. 

The diphthong into which final a and d are weakened in Tamil 
is represented more properly as ei than as ai. The origination of 
the Tamil ei from cr, and the analogy of the Sanskrit diphthong ai, 
which is equivalent to di, might lead us to regard the Tamil diph- 
thong as ai rather than ei. It is curious, however, that though it ori- 
ginated from a, every trace of the sound of a has disappeared. It is 
represented in Grantha and MalayMam by a double e, and in Telugu- 
Canarese by a character which is compounded of e and i : it accords in 
sound also very nearly with the sound of e or ey in Turkey. It is also 
to be observed that the Tamil ei is the equivalent of the e of the Malay- 
^lam accusative, and is the ordinary representative of the final e of 
Canarese substantives and verbal nouns. It is worthy of notice also 
that Kumarila-bhatta, in transliterating the Tamil nadei into Sanskrit 
characters, writes it, not as nadai, but as nade. He evidently consi- 
dered the Dravidian ei nearer e than ai. I conclude, therefore, that 
this sound is best represented by the diphthong ei, which corresponds 
to the e^of the Greeks. 

" The change from a to e is rare in bases, though more frequent in 
inflexions. Of this change among the modern languages Gujarati 
gives many instances. It must here be remarked that the spelling of 
most of these languages, owing to the want of a literary standard, is 
very irregular, and in the cases now about to be noticed, it is probable 
that the spelling has been made to conform to the pronunciation. If 
this had been done in Hindi and Panjabi, they too would to the eye 

seem to have changed the a into e Instances also occur 

in which not only a, but even d, is thus modulated. This process, 
which is irregular and capricious, resembles our own English habit 

of turning a into e The e in the modern Indian languages 

is never short, as in Prakrit, but is constantly long The 

breaking down of a and d into e seems to be one of those points 
where non-Aryan influences have been at work. The Sanskrit admits 
of the modulation of i into e by the addition of an a sound, but 
it does not include within the range of its phonetic system the 


process of flattening a into e by the appendage of an i sound. This 
transition is foreign to the genius of the ancient language, in which 
e is always long. The Dravidian languages, however, possess a short 
e as one of their original simple vowel sounds, side by side with the 
e corresponding to the Sanskrit e. The Tamil further substitutes 
for the Sanskrit e- — i.e., d + i — a sound of ei — i.e., e + i. This short 
e of the Dravidians is often found in Canarese to replace the a 

and d of Sanskrit, and in Tamil ei corresponds thereto It 

would be rash, in the present imperfect state of our knowledge on 
the obscure subject of the relations between the Dravidians and the 
early Aryans, to lay down any definite law on this point ; but it is 
noteworthy that the Aryan tribes who came most closely into contact 
with Kols and Dravidians exhibit the greatest proclivity towards the 
use of these broken vowels." — Beames, pp. 137-1-il. 

(2.) i and i. These vowels call for no remark. 

(3.) u and 'd. In the Indo-European languages, and also in the 
Semitic, the vowels u and u are very decided, inflexible sounds, 
which admit of little or no interchange with other vowels, or euphonic 
softening. In the Dravidian languages, long u is sufficiently persis- 
tent ; but short u is of all vowels the weakest and lightest, and is 
largely used, especially at the end of words, for euphonic purposes, or 
as a help to enunciation. 

In grammatical written Telugu, every word without exception must 
end in a vowel ; and if it has not naturally a vowel ending of its own, 
u is to be suffixed to the last consonant. This rule applies even to 
Sanskrit derivatives; and the neuter abstracts ending in m, which 
have been borrowed from Sanskrit, must end in m-u in Telugu. 
Though this u is always written, it is often dropped in pronunciation. 
In modern Canarese a similar rule holds, with this additional develop- 
ment, that u (or with the euphonic copula v, vu) is suffixed even to 
words that end in a — e.g., compare the Tamil sila, few (things), and pala, 
many (things), with the corresponding Canarese Jcela-vu and pala-vu. 
The Tamil rule, with regard to the addition of u to words which end 
in a consonant, accords with the rule of the ancient Canarese. That 
rule is, that in words which end in any hard or surd consonant, viz., 
in k, ch, t, t, or p (each of which is the leading consonant of a varga), 
or in the hard, rough r, which is peculiar to these languages, the hard , 
consonant shall be followed by z^ (as q by slCvd in Hebrew), in con- 
sequence of its being impossible for Tamilian organs of speech to pro- 
nounce those letters without the help of a succeeding vowel. In most 
instances this enunciative u is not merely short, but so very short that \ 
its quantity is determinecf by grammarians to be equal only to a fourth 

- a J 


of tlie quantity of a long vowel. In Malayalam a short a sometimes 
replaces the short ii of the Tamil. Dr Gundert considers this a pecu- 
liarity of the Malayalam of Cochin and of the Syrian Christians. 
Foreigners, who are led more by the written sign than by the spoken 
sound, have often, he says, been led to regard this letter as a. The short 
u of Tamil is still further shortened in Northern Malayalam, so that in 
the northern districts it is not written at all, but a small circle, or dot 
merely, over the letter is used to express the sound. This may be 
represented by our apostrophe — e.g., IziraW — Tcirdkk-u. The same usage 
prevails still more extensively in Tulu, in which the pronunciation of 
this final u is still more like the Hebrew sNvd. After all vowels except 
6 and 4 it is hardly possible to catch the sound. In so far as it is 
enunciated at all, it resembles a very short German il. The change of 
the Tamil iladu (there is not) into the Telugu Udu, and many changes 
of the like nature, seem to be the result of a similar contraction of 
initial vowels. 

It often happens (though it is not an invariable rule) that the final 
surd, to which enunciative ic or a has been appended, is doubled, 
apparently for the purpose of furnishing a fulcrum for the support of 
the appended vowel. Thus, the Sanskrit vdk, speech, becomes in 
Tamil vdlc{k)-u; ap, water, becomes ap{p)-u; and so in all similar 
cases. The rule is further extended in Tamil so as to apply to the 
final consonants of syllables, as well as to those of words. If a 
syllable, though in the middle of a word, terminates in one of the hard 
consonants above mentioned, and if the initial consonant of the suc- 
ceeding syllable is one which cannot be assimilated to it, the final 
consonant is doubled, and u is aflSxed. Thus, advaita, Sans., in- 
duality, becomes in Tamil attuveida. The rule by which d, when thus 
doubled, becomes t, will be explained hereafter. In modern colloquial 
Tamil, u is suffixed to almost every final consonant, — to the semi-vowels 
and nasals, as well as the surds ; and even in the ancient or classical 
Tamil it is sometimes suffixed to final I — e.g., sol{l)-u, speak, instead of 
simply sol. The employment of u in the manner and for the purposes 
now mentioned is obviously quite foreign to Indo-European usages. 
It is not derived from Sanskrit, and is opposed to Sanskrit laws of 
sound. It will be termed the enunciative u, and will generally be 
separated off by a hyphen. 

(4.) e, e: o, 6. The Dravidian languages possess and largely 
employ the short sounds of the vowels e and o (epsilon and omicron), 
and most of them have different characters for those sounds, for the 
purpose of distinguishing them from the corresponding long vowels. 
Sanskrit is destitute of short e and o. The entire absence of those 


sounds from a language whicli attends so nicely as Sanskrit, to the 
minutest gradations of sound, cannot be the result of accident j and the 
importance of the place which they occupy in the Dravidian system of 
sounds, contributes to show that the Dravidian languages are indepen- 
dent of Sanskrit. In a few cases,''!in all the dialects, particularly in 
the instance of the demonstrative bases, as a and i, and the interrogative 
base e, the short vowel has sometimes been converted into a long one 
by becoming the seat of emphasis ; but such cases are rare and excep- 
tional, and in general the difference between short e and o and the 
corresponding long vowels is a difference which pertains not to 
euphony or the inflexional form, but to the bases or roots of words, 
and is essential to the difference in the signification — e.g,^ in Tamil, 
tel means clear, and tel scorpion ; hdl, stone, and Ml, foot. 

" The first trace of the adoption of this short e by Aryan populations 
is found in Prakrit, and takes the form, not of a distinct sound, from 
the long Sanskrit e, but of a shortening of that sound itself. Thus, 
words which in Sanskrit exhibit long c, followed by a single consonant, 
occur in Prakrit with e followed by a double consonant. As Prakrit is 
always very careful to preserve the quantity of Sanskrit words, it is 
apparent that the common people who spoke Prakrit, having come to 
regard e as a short sound, felt it necessary to double the following con- 
sonant, in order to preserve the quantity ; the vowel, which in Sanskrit 

was long by nature, becoming thus long by position These words 

were pronounced with a short e, as in English get, bed; and the barren- 
ness of invention of the persons who reduced Prakrit to writing is 
shown by their omitting to provide a separate character for this new 
sound, as the Dravidians have done." — Beames, p. 141. 

(5.) ei. It has already been mentioned that ei, unlike the Sanskrit 
diphthong ai, represents e and ^, not a and i. The primitive Dravi- 
dian a changes into e, and this again into ei. Thus, the head is 
tala in Telugu and Malay^lam, tale in Canarese, and tali in Tamil. 
This Malayalam a is not pure, but, according to Dr Gundert, is a 
modification of ei. Hence e, not a, appears in the dative. When 
ei is succeeded in Tamil by another ei, with only a single consonant 
between them, the first ei, though naturally long, is considered short 
by position, and is pronounced short accordingly — e.g., udeimei, pro- 
perty, is regarded in prosody as udeimei. In such cases, ei is seen to 
be equivalent to its original d or S. 

(6.) au. This diphthong has a place in the Tamil alphabet; but it 
is not really a part of any of the Dravidian languages, and it has been 
placed in the alphabets solely in imitation of Sanskrit. It is used 
only in the pronunciation of Sanskrit derivatives ; and when such 


derivatives are used in Tamil, they are more commonly pronounced 
without the aid of this diphthong. Ordinarily the diphthong is sepa- 
rated into its component elements ; that is, the simple vowels a and w, 
from which it is derived, are pronounced separately, with the usual 
euphonic v of the Tamil between them to prevent hiatus. — e.g., the 
Sanskrit noun sauhhyam, health, is ordinarily pronounced and written 
in Tamil saviikkiyam. 

It is a peculiarity of the Tamil system of sounds, as distinguished 
from that of the other languages of the family, that the vowels ^, i, 
e, e, and n, acquire before certain consonants followed by a and its 
cognate ei, a compound, diphthongal sound, which is different from the 
sound which they have as simple vowels. Thus, i before f, n, r, r, r, 
I, and I, followed by a or ei, acquires something of the sound of e : i, 
before the same consonants, with the exception of the first r and the 
first /, and followed by a or ei, takes a sound resembling H: '(I remains 
always unchanged ; but u, not only before the above-mentioned seven 
consonants, but before all single consonants, when it is not succeeded 
by i, u, or e, is pronounced nearly like o; and in Telugu, o is generally 
used in writing those words, e, before the consonants above men- 
tioned, with the exception of the semi-vowels, loses its peculiarly 
slender sound, and is pronounced nearly as it would be if the succeed- 
ing consonant were doubled, e, with the same exceptions, acquires a 
sound similar to 6. This change of e into o especially distinguishes 
Tulu. Thus, the Tamil vendum, must, is in Tulu hdd; velli, silver, 
is holli. These changes in the sounds of the Dravidian vowels under 
certain circumstances are not owing exclusively to the influence of the 
following consonants. They illustrate more especially the power of 
one Dravidian vowel to bring another vowel into harmony with itself. 
In all the changes now referred to, we see the power of the vowel a 
and its cognate ei penetrating into the preceding syllable. The circum- 
stance most worthy of notice, in connection with these changes, is that 
each of the short vowels ^, u, and e, retains its natural sound, if it is 
succeeded by another i, u, or e. Thus, ura, Tamil, infinitive, to have, 
to be, is pronounced ova, but the imperative utu is pronounced as it is 
written. This rule discloses a law of sound which is unlike anything 
that is discoverable in Sanskrit. So far as it goes, it corresponds to 
the Scythian law of harmonic sequences, which will be referred to 

The vowel a, occurring in the last syllable of a word ending in n, n, 
r, r, I, or I, acquires a slender sound resembling that of e — e.g., avar, 
Tamil, they (honorifically, he), is pronounced aver. This change corre- 
sponds to the weakening of the sound of heavy vowels in the ultimate 



or penultimate syllables of words, which is sometimes observed in the 
Sanskrit family of tongues. 

11. Consonants. — Tamil grammarians divide all consonants into 
three classes — (1.) Surds, "which they call vallinam, or the hard class, ) "^ 
viz., h, ch or s, t, t, p, r; (2.) Nasals, which they call melUnam, or the : 
soft class, viz., n, n, n, n, m, with final n; and (3.) Semi-vowels, which ^ 
they call ideiyinam, or the medial class, viz., y, r, /, v, r, I. ' '^ e^ 

In this enumeration, as I have already observed, the sonant equiva- /^j"^ 
lents of the surd consonants (viz., g, the sonant of h; j, the sonant of ch 
or s; d, the sonant of t; c/, the sonant of t; and 6, the sonant of p) are 
omitted. In the Northern Dravidian dialects the difference between 
surds and sonants is generally expressed by the use of different charac- 
ters for each sound, in imitation of the system of the Deva-nagari ; but 
in Tamil and in Malayalam, in accordance with the peculiar Dravidian 
law of the convertibility of surds and sonants, one set of consonants 
serves for both purposes, and the difference between them is expressed 
in the pronunciation alone. 

It is desirable, before proceeding further, to inquire into this law, 
viz. : — 

27ie Convertibility of Surds and Sonants. — We have seen that the 
Tamil alphabet adopts the first and last of each of the Deva-nagari 
vargas, or rows of consonants, viz., the unaspirated surd and the nasal 
of each varga; we have also seen that the Tamil has not separate 
characters for surds and sonants, but uses one and the same character 
— that which, properly speaking, represents the surd only— to express 
both. This rule does not apply merely to the written characters of the 
language, but is the expression of a law of sound which is inherent in 
the language itself. 

There are distinct traces of the existence of this law in all the Dra- 
vidian dialects; but it is found most systematically and most fully 
developed in Tamil and Malayalam. The law, as apparent in the Tamil- 
Malayalam system of sounds> is as follows : — h, t, t, p, the first un- 
aspirated consonants of the first, third, fourth, and fifth vargas, are 
always pronounced as tenues or surds {i.e., as k, t, t, p) at the begin- 
ning of words, and whenever they are doubled. The same consonants 
are always pronounced as medials or sonants [i.e., as g, d, d, h) when 
single in the middle of words. A sonant cannot commence a word, 
neither is a surd admissible in the middle, except when doubled ; and 
so imperative is this law, and so strictly is it adhered to, that when 
words are borrowed from languages in which a different principle pre- 
vails, as Sanskrit or English, the consonants of those words change 



from sonants to surds, or vice versd, according to their position — e.^., 
danta, Sans, a tootli, becomes in Tamil, tandam; hhdgya, Sans, happi- 
ness, becomes pdhhiyam. This rule applies also to the case of com- 
pounds. The first consonant of the second word, though it was a 
surd when it stood independent, is regarded as a sonant when it 
becomes a medial letter in a compounded word. This difference is 
marked in Telugu by a difference in the character which is employed — 
e.g. J anna-dammulu, (for anna-tammulu\ elder and younger brothers ; 
Jcotta-hadu (for Jcotta-padu), to be beaten ; but in Tamil, and gener- 
ally in Malayalam, the difference appears in the pronunciation alone. 
This rule applies to all compounds in Telugu ; but in Tamil, when 
the words stand in a case-relation to one another, or when the first is 
governed by the second, the initial surd of the second word is not 
softened, but doubled and hardened, in token of its activity — e.g.y in- 
stead of Jcotta-baduy to be beaten, it prefers to say kotta-(p)padu. In 
dvandva compounds Tamil agrees with Telugu. 

A similar rule applies to the pronunciation of ch or c (the Tamil i), 
the s first consonant of the second varga. When single, it is pro- 
nounced as a soft, weak sibilant, with a sound midway between s, s/i, and 
ch. This pronunciation is unchanged in the middle of words, and in 
all cases in which the letter is single ; but when it is doubled, it is 
pronounced exactly like chch or cc. The principle involved in this 
instance is the same as in the cases previously mentioned, but the 
operation of the rule is in some degree different. The difference con- 
sists in the pronunciation of this consonant in the beginning of a word, 
as well as in the middle, as a sonant — i.e.^ as s. By theory it should 
be pronounced as ch at the beginning of a word, — and it is worthy of 
notice that it always receives this pronunciation at the beginning of a 
word in vulgar colloquial Tamil : and in Malayalam and Telugu it is 
written as well as pronounced ch. A somewhat similar rule prevails 
with respect to the rough r of the Tamil, which is pronounced as r 
when single, and like ttr when doubled. 

The Tamilian rule which requires the same consonant to be pro- 
nounced as k in one position and as g in another — as ty t, p, in one 
position, and as d, d, h, in another — is not a mere dialectic peculiarity, 
the gradual result of circumstances, or a modern refinement invented 
by grammarians, but is essentially inherent in the language, and has 
been a characteristic principle of it from the beginning. 

The Tamil characters were borrowed, I conceive, from the earlier 
Sanskrit, and the language of the Tamilians was committed to writing 
on or soon after the arrival of the first colony of Brahmans, probably 
several centuries before the Christian era. Yet even at that early 


period the Tamil alphabet was arranged in such a manner as to embody 
the peculiar Dravidian law of the convertibility of surds and sonants. 
The Tamil alphabet systematically passed by the sonants of the San- 
skrit, and adopted the surds alone, considering one character as suffi- 
cient for the expression of both classes of sounds. This circumstance 
clearly proves that ah initio the Dravidian phonetic system, as repre- 
sented in Tamil, its most ancient exponent, diflfered essentially from 
that of Sanskrit. 

In none of the Indo-European languages do we find surds and 
sonants convertible ; though Hebrew scholars will remember the exist- 
ence in Hebrew of a rule which is somewhat similar to the Tamilian 
respecting k, t, p, and their equivalents. The Hebrew consonants 
composing the memorial words be^ad kephath, are pronounced in two 
different ways, according to their position. When any of those con- 
sonants begins a word, or in certain cases a syllable, it is to be 
pronounced hard — that is, as a surd or tenuis; and if it be an 
aspirated letter, it is then deprived of the aspirate which it naturally 
possesses. To denote this, such consonants have a point, called a 
dagesh, inscribed in them. When those consonants are found in any 
other position, they are pronounced as sonants, and two of them, ph 
and thj as aspirates. This rule resembles the Tamilian in some parti- 
culars ; but the resemblance which will be found to exist between the 
Tamilian rule and the law of sounds which prevails in some of the 
languages of the Scythian family, amounts to identity. In the Finnish 
and Lappish there is a clearly marked distinction between surds and 
sonants : a sonant never commences a word or syllable in either tongue. 
But in the oldest specimen of any Scythian language which is extant — 
the Scythic version of the inscription at Behistun — Mr Norris ascer- 
tained (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society for 1853) the existence 
of a law of convertibility of sonants and surds w^hich is absolutely 
identical with the Tamilian. He ascertained that in that language, 
in the middle of a word, the same consonant was pronounced as a 
sonant when single and as a surd when doubled. 

We now enter upon an examination of the Dravidian consonants in 

(1.) The guttural varga: k, (/, and their nasal h or 7ig. These con- 
sonants are pronounced in the Dravidian language precisely as in San- 
skrit, g^ the sonant of ^, which is expressed by the same character in :, 
Tamil, is pronounced in Tamil-Malayalam in a peculiarly soft manner. / 
Its sound resembles that of an Irish gh, and is commonly used to express 
the h of other languages. Thus, the Sanskrit adjective mahd, great, is 
written in Tamil magdj but so soft is the y, that it may be considered 


as an equivalent to h, pronounced with less roughness than is usual 
with that aspirate. 

(2.) The palatal varga : ch or s,j, and ii. It has been observed that 
the Tamil rejects the Sanskrit sibilants s, sh, and s. The consonant 
which it adopts instead is ch, which is pronounced in Tamil in a manner 
somewhat similar to the soft aspirated s of Siva, or as a very soft sh, 
with as little sibilation or aspiration as possible. In fact, it may be 
regarded as a palatal, not as a sibilant ; and when it is doubled, it takes 
precisely the sound of the Sanskrit palatal ch or c, or its English equi- 
valent in which. In Telugu, the sound of ch is that with which this 
consonant is pronounced, not only when doubled, but also when single ; 
and a similar pronunciation prevails in the lowest colloquial dialect of 
the Tamil, in which iey, to do, is pronounced chey, as in Telugu. It 
is probably the ancient pronunciation of this letter which is retained 
by the lower classes. The very soft sound of it as s is probably 
a refinement originating with the higher classes. When the Tamil 
alphabet was arranged, and s was made the equivalent of ch, and even 
after the arrival of the Europeans in India, when the Portuguese wrote 
S'oramandalam as Choramandel, and the missionary Ziegenbalg wrote 
Siidra as Tshuddira, the harder palatal sound seems to have been the 
one in general use. This letter should perhaps be represented as ch in 
the Roman character, like the corresponding Telugu letter, but the 
sound of s is the sound so generally heard at present, when the letter is 
single, that the use of ch or c would be puzzling to the student of Tamil. 
I have, therefore, resolved to adhere to s as in the former edition. 

j, the second unaspirated consonant of this row, is not used in 
correct Tamil ; but in Telugu it is both written and pronounced : in 
vulgar Tamil also ch is sometimes pronounced like/ The same sound 
of j is sometimes admitted in the use of those Sanskrit derivatives in 
which the letter j is found in Sanskrit ; but ordinarily the Tamil sound 
of ch or s is used instead. 

n, the nasal of this row of consonants, is pronounced as in Sanskrit 
in all the Dravidian languages, n, nj, or ny, as this letter is commonly 
transliterated in English, being a double letter, and liable to mislead, 
I think it better to represent this sound by n. The n of the lingual 
series will be represented as before by n; the dental n, as before, by oi, 
without any diacritical mark. We frequently find n {nj) used in 
Malay alam, as an initial, where the Tamil uses n — e.g., ndn, 1, instead 
of the Tamil ndn. Possibly both the Tamil n and the Malay alam n 
are representatives of an ancient y, as will appear in the examination 
of the personal pronouns, ndn, ndn = ydn. Tamil nandu, a crab, is 
nandu in Malayalam, and yandri in Canarese. 


It is necessary here to notice the existence in Telugu of a peculiarly- 
soft pronunciation of ch and /, with their aspirates, which is unknown 
in Sanskrit and the Northern vernaculars, and is found only in Telugu 
and in Marathi. Ch is pronounced as ts, and / as dz, before all vowels > 
except i, i, e, e, and ei. Before these excepted vowels, the ordinary 
sounds of ch and / are retained. Whether the Telugu borrowed these 
sounds from the Marathi, or the Marathi from the Telugu, I can 
scarcely venture to express an opinion ; but this is not the only par- 
ticular in which those languages are found to agree. A sound repre- 
sented as zh is much used in the Tuda dialect, especially in connection 
with r and /. 

" Marathi has two methods of pronouncing the palatals. In tatsa- 
mas and modern tadhhavas, and before the palatal vowels i, i, e, and 
at, ch and j are pronounced as in Sanskrit ; but in early tadhhavas, 
dUajas, and before the other vowels, ch sounds ts, and j, dz. This 
peculiarity is not shared by any of the cognate languages, while, on 
the other hand, the ts and dz sounds (so to speak, the unassimilated 
palatals) are characteristic of the lower state of development of the 
non-Aryan, Turanian, or what-you-call class of languages. Tibetan 
on the one side, and Telugu among the Dravidians on the other, 
retain them. Marathi, from its juxtaposition to Telugu and other 
non-Aryan forms of speech, might naturally be expected to have under- 
gone somewhat of their influence, and this pronunciation of the palatals 
is probably an instance in point. By the expression *' unassimilated 
palatals " I mean that, whereas, in the Aryan palatals, the dental and 
sibilant of which they are composed have become so united into one 
sound that the elements can no longer be separately recognised, in the 
Turanian class the elements are still distinct." — Beames, p. 72. Dr 
Trumpp also attributes the pronunciation of ch and j in certain con- 
nections, as ts and dz in Marathi, to Dravidian influences. 

(3.) The lingual or so-called cerebral varga: t, d, n. The pro-~ 
nunciation of the consonants of the cerebral varga in the Dravidian 
languages does not essentially differ from their pronunciation in San- . 
skrit. In expressing these consonants, with their aspirates, in Roman 
characters in this work, a dot will be placed under each, to distinguish 
them from the t, d, and 7i, of the dental row. Though t is the surd 
consonant of the Unguals, it is not pronounced at the beginning of any 
word in Tamil, like the other surds. Its sound is too hard and rough 
to admit of its use as an initial ; and, therefore, in those few Sanskrit 
derivatives which commence with this letter, t is preceded in Tamil by 
the vowel *, as a help to enunciation. When t is thus preceded by a 
vowel, it is no longer an initial, and therefore no longer a surd ; and 


hence it becomes d by rule ; so tliat the sound of t is never heard in 
Tamil, except when d is doubled. In the other Dravidian dialects, t 
is sometimes pronounced singly, as in Sanskrit. Tamil diflfers from 
the other dialects in refusing to combine t with ti, and changing 
it into d when n is combined with it. This peculiarity is founded 
upon a general Tamilian law of sound, which is that nasals will not 
combine with surds, but coalesce with sonants alone. In consequence 
of this peculiar law, such combinations as nt^ ntj and mp^ which are 
admissible in Telugu and Canarese, are inadmissible in Tamil, in 
which ndy nd, and nib, must be used instead. This rule applies also 
to k and ch, which, when combined with the nasals corresponding to 
them, become g and /. Thus, mantapa, Sans, a porch, becomes in 
Tamil mandabam ; anta, Sans, end, becomes andam. Probably the 
difference between Tamil and the other Dravidian languages in this 
point arises from the circumstance that Tamil has remained so much 
freer than its sister idioms from Sanskrit influences. A similar rule 
respecting the conjunction of nasals with sonants alone is found in 
Finnish, and is possibly owing to that delicacy of ear which both 
Finns and Tamilians appear to possess. 

I reserve to the close of this examination of the Dravidian conson- 
ants some observations on the circumstance that the consonants of the 
lingual or cerebral class are found in Sanskrit as well as in the lan- 
guages of the Dravidian family. 

(4.) The dental varga: t, <i, n. The letters of the dental varga have 
generally the same sound in the Dravidian languages as in Sanskrit. 
The principal exception consists in the peculiarly soft pronunciation of 
t in Tamil and Malay alam between two vowels : it is then pronounced, 
not as J, but with the sound of the soft English th in that. It is only 
when it is combined with a nasal (as in the word which was cited 
above, andam, end) that the sonant of t is pronounced in Tamil as d; 
the sound of d being, in such a conjunction, more natural and easy 
than that of th. As this peculiar sound of th is found only in Tamil 
and in Malayalam, a daughter of Tamil, it is doubtful whether th is 
to be considered as the original sound of the sonant equivalent of t, 
or whether it is to be regarded as a corruption or further softening 
of d. On the whole, the latter supposition seems the more probable ; 
and as the th of Tamil corresponds to the d of Telugu and of the 
other dialects in position and power, I shall always write it as d, even 
when quoting Tamil words, except where it is used as an initial, and 
is therefore a surd, when it will be written as t. 

Another exception to the rule that the dental letters have the same 
pronunciation in the Dravidian languages as in Sanskrit consists in 


the pronunciation of the Sanskrit t in certain connections in Malayalam v ! 
as I — e.g.y dltmdv\ soul, for dttmdv (Tarn, dttumd), from the Sans, dtmd; 
Keralolpatti, for Keralotpatti, the title of the History of Malabar. 

One of the sounds peculiar to the Tuda is the hard sound of thy as 
in the English word thin. This is the pronunciation to be given to 
the th in atham^ he, she, it, they. 

(5.) The labial varga : p, h, m. The pronunciation of p, and its 
sonant 6, requires no remark. One of the. peculiarities of Tuda is the 
existence in it of the sound of / — e.g., piXf, an insect. In the other 
Dravidian dialects / is unknown, and p is used instead in words 
containing / borrowed from EngUsh. With regard to the use of m in 
combination, I have only to observe, that though it changes into hy n, 
n or n, when immediately succeeded by a guttural, a palatal, a lingual, 
or a dental, it is not to be confounded with the anu&vdra of the San- 
skrit alphabet. The true anusvdra — i.e., the sound which m takes 
in Sanskrit before the semi- vowels, the sibilants, and the letter h — 
is unknown to the Dravidian languages. A character called by the 
name of anusvdra, but of a dififerent power from the anusvdra of the 
Sanskrit, is in use in Telugu and Canarese ; but it is used merely as 
the equivalent of the consonantal m in euphonic combinations, and 
even as a final. The Telugu has also a vocalic nasal, the half anusvdra, 
which, though it is used merely for euphony, bears a close resemblance 
to the true anusvdra of the Sanskrit. There is nothing in any of the 
Dravidian languages which corresponds to the use of the obscure nasal 
anusvdra as a final in Hindi and in the other Northern vernaculars. 

The euphonic use of m or n, and its modifications, and its use to ( 
prevent hiatus, will be considered at the close of this section. 

(6.) The varga of the liquid consonants or semi-vowels: y, r, I, v: 
r, I, r. In classical Tamil neither r nor I can commence a word ; each 
of them requires to be preceded by an euphonic auxiliary vowel ; r by - — ^< ^ 
i or a, and I by u. This appears most distinctly in words borrowed - — ' ^ , 
from Sanskrit, as in these instances we are certain of the original form 
of the word. Thus rdjd. Sans., becomes in Tamil irdsan or irdyan, 
and also arasan or arayan; revati. Sans, the nakshatra of that name, 
becomes iravati; rakta, Sans, blood, becomes irattam or arattam; 
rava, Sans, sound, becomes aravam. The last word never becomes 
iravam. So also loka, Sans, the world, becomes in Tamil ulogam, 
and by a further change, through the preference of the Tamil for short 
vowels, ulagam, and still more elegantly ulagu. The same rule applies ( 
to the second set of semi-vowels, r, I, r, which are the exclusive pro- ^ 
perty of the Dravidian languages, and none of which can be pronounced 
without the help of preceding vowels. 

28 ' SOUNDS. 

Of these distinctively Dravidian semi-vowels, r is used most largely 
by Tamil. It is used also in Malayalam, and its use is one of the 
distinguishing features of old, as distinguished from modern, Canarese. 
Its sound resembles that of the English r (not the Irish or Scotch) 
after a long vowel, as in the word farm; but it is pronounced farther 
back in the mouth, and in a still more liquid manner. It is sometimes 
expressed in English books as zh or rzh; but this is merely a local pro- 
nunciation of the letter which is peculiar to the Northern districts of 
the Tamil country : it is at variance with its affinities and its inter- 
changes, and is likely to mislead the learner, r is the only Dravidian 
consonant which is pronounced differently in different districts. In 
the southern districts of the Tamil country, it is pronounced by the 
mass of the people exactly in the same manner as I, which is the letter 
generally used instead of r in modern Canarese. Between Tanjore 
and Pondicherry, it is softened into rzh or zh; and in Madras and the 
neighbourhood, this softening process has been carried to such a length, 
that in the speech of the vulgar, r has become y, or a silent letter. 
Even in correct written Tamil r sometimes disappears — e.g., poriiduy 
time, becomes podu. It sometimes changes into y in Malayalam. 
Telugu, which commences to be spoken about two days' journey north 
of Madras, has lost this letter altogether. Generally it uses d instead, 
as the Canarese uses I; but sometimes it uses no substitute, after the 
manner of the vulgar Tamil of Madras. Looking at such Telugu 
words as Mnda, below, answering to the Tamil kirnda, and mingu, to 
swallow, answering to the Tamil virungu, we cannot but suppose that 
Telugu had this letter originally, like Tamil, and that it lost it gra- 
dually through the operation of that softening process which, in the 
colloquial Tamil of Madras, converts Ure, below, to Ue. Though r is 
generally changed into I in Canarese, it appears to have become r in 
some words — e.g., ardu, having wept, instead of aradu, Tamil. It is 
sometimes also assimilated — e.g., porudu, Tamil, time, became pottu 
(porudti, pordu, poddu, pottu) in old Canarese, in modern Canarese 
hottu. The change of r into r is common in Tulu. 

I is a peculiar heavy I, with a mixture of r, which is found in all 
the Dravidian languages. It may be styled the cerebral I ; and it is 
probably derived from the same source, whatever that source may be, 
from which the cerebral consonants t, d, and n, have proceeded. A 
similar I is found in Vedic Sanskrit, and an I identical with it is 
common in several of the North Indian vernaculars. 

" From the examples given in this and other sections, it must have 
struck the reader that a close connection, if not a certain degree of con- 
fusion, exists in some languages between I and I. This latter letter is 


very common in Oriya, Bengali, and Gujarati ; less in Panjabi ; and is 
not found in the others. Its pronunciation defies description ; some- 
times it sounds like rA, again like rz^ and again merely a harsh I. Its 
point of contact is high up in the palate, near r, and the tongue in 
uttering it is shaped as in uttering the simple I, It appears to be 
capriciously substituted by the vulgar, in those languages where it 
exists, for the common I, and in a considerable number of instances 

this substitution has become the rule It will be noticed that this 

letter never occurs initially in any of the languages ; and there appears 
to be no reason for doubting that the sound itself is of non-Aryan 
origin, notwithstanding the fact that the character is found in Vedic 
Sanskrit. We do not know how this character was pronounced in 
those days, beyond this — that it in some degree resembled d. But the 
equivalent of c?, in the modern languages, is not t ^ but Ih. Moreover, 
Panjabi has side by side with J a character, rA, which accurately cor- 
responds to the Sanskrit rf." — Beames, p. 24-5. 

The hard rough r of the Dravidian languages is not found in San- 
skrit, and is not employed in pronouncing Sanskrit derivatives. It is 
found in Telugu poetry and elegant prose, and the grammarians insist 
upon using it ; but in the modern dialect of the Telugu it is seldom 
used. In Canarese, the use of this letter is confined to the poets and 
the ancient dialect. It is evident that it was originally contained in 
all the dialects j though, possibly through the influence of the Sanskrit, 
it is now seldom used except in Tamil and Malayalam, in which it 
holds as firm footing as ever. In some of the older Tamil alphabets I 
have found this letter appropriately expressed by a double r; and, to 
distinguish it from the softer letter, it will be represented in this work 
by a Clarendon r, emblematical of its greater strength. 

In the use of this hard r in Tamil, there are two peculiarities which 
'are worthy of notice. 

(i.) r, when doubled, is pronounced as tt7', though written rr. The 
t of this compound sound dififers both from the soft dental t of the 
fourth varga, and from the cerebral t, and corresponds very nearly to 
the emphatic final t of our English interrogative what f This sound 
of t is not expressed in writing, but in pronunciation it is never omitted; 
and it is one of those peculiar Dravidian sounds which are not derived 
from Sanskrit, and are not found in it. The double tir or tt of the 
Tamil (rr) is sometimes softened in Telugu to a single t, and in 
Canarese still further into t — e.g., mdrru (mditru), Tam., of which 
one of the meanings is an answer, a word, is in Tel. mdta, in 
Can. mdtu. The t is also sometimes doubled in Telugu — e.g., Tam., 
parru (pattru), a laying hold; Tel., pattu; Can., both pattu and 



pattu {hattu). Even in old Canarese a similar change often takes 

(ii.) The letter n (not the dental w, but the final n of Tamil), a 
letter which is not found in Telugu, is often prefixed in Tamil to the 
rough r for the sake of euphony, when the compound nv acquires the 
sound of ndr — a sound of which the Tamil, like the language of Mada- 
gascar, is exceedingly fond. In Tulu this sound is further softened to 
nj — e.g., kanru, Tamil, a calf, is in Tulu, ka7yi. In another class of 
words, the n which is prefixed to r is radical, and should be followed 
by d, according to rule (e.y., in the preterites of verbs whose root ends 
in n) ; but r is suffixed to n instead of c?, in consequence of which the 
sound of ndr is substituted for that of nd. 

I consider the r radical, and the n euphonically prefixed, in milnru 
{mUndru), Tam., three (for milru, Can., the more ancient form of the 
word), and in onru (ondru), Tam., one (for oru). The 7i 1 consider 
radical (or an euphonised form of the radical), and the r used euphoni- 
cally instead of d, in the following examples : — enrii (endru), having 
spoken, instead of endu; senru (sendru), having gone, for sendu ,(which 
is instead of the less euphonic seldu). In the speech of the vulgar in 
the Tamil country, and in Malayalam, this compound ndr is further 
altered into nn or nn. In Telugu and Canarese nd seems always to be 
found instead of ndr. See Numerals I. and III.* 

(7.) The sibilants and the aspirate: s, sh, s, h. It has already been 
mentioned that Tamil is destitute of sibilants. The other Dravidian 

* I quote here from Dr Gundert's communication. " Is m'dru more ancient than 
mUndru ? Canarese dislikes the nasals (except the half anusvara, which it likes to 
introduce — e.g., sainhya instead of sahya, tolerable). Kandru, Tam. a calf ; Can., 
Jcaru. Which is the older ? I suppose rw in milndru, three, and ondru, one, to be 
the formative du, tu, changed by its contact with final n. mun, on, appear to me 
the original forms, the one from the radical mu, to be before, to excel (whence 
mun, before, and probably Sans. muJcha, the face ; also Tam. milkJc-u, the nose, 
and the verb mH, to be old) ; the other, from the radical o, to be one. Many old 
nouns are formed with n (as en, Tam. what ? This n changes into r, as in pir, 
from pin, after ; also into r — e.g., ular, birth, the same as ulan and ulavu. Oru, 
one, appears to me therefore only the more liquid equivalent of the noim on. Senru 
or sendru, having gone, I should rather derive from sel-ndu than from seldu, as 
the latter would have to become Sexru, settru." I place Dr Gundert's observa- 
tions at the foot of the page, instead of incorporating them in the text as usual, 
because in this instance I am unable to adopt his view. A comparison of all the 
forms of the Dravidian numerals for **one" and "three" (see the chapter on 
Numerals) appears to me to confirm the supposition expressed in the text. The 
change of §eldu into sendru would be quite in accordance with many precedents 
found in old Tamil words — e.g., pandri, a hog (literally, "a tusker"), from the 
radical pal, a tusk, with the usual formative ti or di. Compare also ninru (nindru) 
for nindvj having stood, the euphonised form of nildu, from the root nil, to stand. 


idioms freely use the sibilants and aspirates of Sanskrit in writing 
and pronouncing Sanskrit derivatives, and to some extent, through 
the prevalence of Sanskrit influences, in the pronunciation even of 
pure Dravidian words. In Tamil, the s of S'iva, occurring in San- 
skrit derivatives, is represented by the peculiar palatal which answers 
to the ch of the Sanskrit, and the sound of which, when single, closely 
resembles that of s. The other sibilants, sh and 5, are altogether 
excluded from pure classical Tamil. In later Tamil books, and in the 
speech and letters of the better-educated Tamilians of the present age, 
those sibilants are freely employed in writing and pronouncing words 
which have been borrowed from Sanskrit ; and in such cases, the cha- 
racters which are used to express them are j;aken from the Grantha. 
By the mass of the people, however, those letters are rarely pronounced 
aright ; and in the remoter districts the vulgar substitute for them, in 
accordance with the genius of the language, those letters which the 
ancient grammars enjoin, and the use of which is exemplified in the 
Sanskrit derivatives employed in the Tamil classics. The substitutions 
are as follows : — sh, the lingual sibilant of the Sanskrit, is represented 
in general by the lingual d; sometimes by the liquid r; sometimes 
even by the dental t or d. s, the sharp sibilant of the Sanskrit, is 
sometimes represented by tovd; sometimes it is omitted altogether ; 
sometimes it is changed into the Tamil ch, the equivalent of s. When 
this sibilant stands at the beginning of a Sanskrit derivative, and when 
it is desired, in accordance with modern usage, to pronounce it with 
the unmodified Sanskrit sound, it is preceded (at least in pronuncia- 
tion) by the vowel i, without which it cannot be enunciated, in that 
connection, by Tamil organs. Thus, stri, Sans, a woman, is always 
pronounced and generally written istiri. 

Tamil and MalayMam are destitute of the sound of h. I believe, 
indeed, that this sound was originally foreign to the Dravidian lan- 
guages, and that it crept into Telugu and Canarese through the in- 
fluence of Sanskrit. Tamil upholds its claim to a sterner independence, 
if not to a higher antiquity, than the other tongues, by not only re- 
fusing to use the letter h, but by refusing to pronounce or write the 
aspirated consonants included in the Sanskrit words which it borrows. 
Dr Trumpp (" Sindhi Grammar," p. xxvi.) mentions the aversion of the 
Prakrit to aspirates, and remarks, that " this aversion seems to point 
to a Tatar underground current in the mouth of the common people, 
the Dravidian languages of the South being destitute of aspirates." 
In modern Canarese h is regularly used as a substitute for p, as is 
sometimes the case in M^rathi ; but ancient Canarese agrees in this 
particular with Tamil. 


OnTGiN OF THE LiNGUAL OR " Ceeebral " SouNDS.—In all the 
languages and dialects of India, whether they belong to the Aryan 
or to the Dravidian families, much use is made of a series of conson- 
ants — t, d, with their aspirates, and n — which are called by Hindu 
grammarians " cerebrals " because they are pronounced far back in the 
mouth, with a hard, ringing sound. I have reserved to this place 
some observations on the existence of this peculiar class of sounds in 
two families of tongues which are so widely different from one another 
as the Dravidian and the Sanskrit. 

It seems natural to suppose that one of those families must have 
borrowed the sounds in question from the other ; but it remains to be 
determined which was tjie borrower, and which was the original pro- 
prietor. Hindi, Bengali, and the other vernaculars of Northern India 
have doubtless inherited the lingual consonants from Sanskrit, from 
the decomposition of which those languages have mainly arisen ; but it 
is very difficult to suppose that they have been borrowed in this manner 
from Sanskrit by the Dravidian languages. On the contrary, I have 
long been persuaded that they were borrowed from the Dravidian lan- 
guages by Sanskrit, after the arrival of the Sanskrit-speaking race in 
India. The reasons which lead me to adopt this view are these : — 

(1.) The lingual consonants are essential component elements of a 
large number of primitive Dravidian roots, and are often necessary, 
especially in Tamil, for the discrimination of one root from another ; 
whereas in most cases in Sanskrit, the use of cerebral consonants 
instead of dentals, and especially the use of the cerebral n, instead of 
the dental ?i, is merely euphonic. 

(2.) None of the lingual consonants has ever been discovered in any 
of the primitive languages which are related to Sanskrit. They are 
not found in Greek or Latin, in Gothic or Celtic, in Lithuanian, 
Slavonian, or modern Persian : they are not found in cuneiform Per- 
sian or Zend — those sister dialects, with which the Sanskrit finally 
shook hands on crossing the Indus and settling in Ary^-varta. On 
the other hand, the Dravidian languages, which claim to have had 
an origin independent of Sanskrit, and which appear to have been 
spoken throughout India prior to the arrival of the Aryans, possess 
the lingual sounds in question, and, for aught that appears, were 
in possession of them always. They are found even in the Brahui. 
There is no trace of these sounds in the Aryan family of tongues 
west of the Indus; but no sooner does a member of that family 
cross the Indus, and obtain a lodgment in the ancient seats of the 
Dravidians and other allied tribes in India, than the lingual sounds 
make their appearance in their language. It is worthy of notice also, 


that the Prakrits, the earliest vernacular dialects of the Sanskrit, 
make a larger use of the Unguals than Sanskrit itself.'"^ 

(3.) Those consonants which Tamil has borrowed from Sanskrit 
within the period of the existence of Dravidian literature have 
been greatly modified to accord with the Tamilian laws of sound and 
delicacy of ear. Thus Tamil omits the aspirates even of Sanskrit 
derivatives, and omits or changes all the sibilants. It systematically 
softens down all harsh sounds. Even the Sanskrit lingual-sibilant s/t 
cannot be pronounced by Tamil organs. Hence it seems improbable 
that a series of harsh ringing sounds, like the cerebral (, d, and 
n, should have been borrowed by Tamil from Sanskrit without 
change, and used in the pronunciation, not only of Sanskrit deri- 
vatives, but also of a large number of the most essential Dravidian 

(4.) Though Telugu has been more exposed to Sanskrit influ- 
ences than Tamil, yet larger use is made of those sounds in Tamil 
than in Telugu — a circumstance which seems incompatible with the 
supposition of the derivation of those sounds from Sanskrit. 

Putting all these considerations together, it appears to me pro- 
bable that instead of the Dravidian languages having borrowed the 
lingual consonants from Sanskrit, Sanskrit has borrowed them from 
the Dravidian languages ; and it will, I think, be shown in the " Glos- 
sarial Affinities," that Sanskrit has not disdained to borrow from the 
Dravidian languages words as well as sounds. 

After the foregoing observations were written, I met with Mr 
Norris.'s paper on the language of the " Scythic tablets " of Behistun, 
and found a similar opinion expressed therein respecting the Dravi- 
dian origin of the Sanskrit cerebrals. Mr Norris says, '' I will here 
express my conviction that the sounds called cerebral are peculiar to 
the Tartar or Finnish class of languages ; that the really Indian 
languages are all of Tartar origin, or at least that their phonetic and 
grammatical affinities are Tartar ; and that the writers of Sanskrit 

* The Vedic Sanskrit possesses a peculiar I — resembling the liugual I of the 
Dravidian languages — which has disappeared from the more modern Sanskrit. 
This I is one of- the most distinctive features of the Dravidian languages, espe- 
cially of Canarese and Tamil, and its origin is probably the same as that of the 
other Unguals. It is retained occasionally in Tamil and Telugu, and very fre- 
quently in Canarese and MalayS,lam, in the rendering of Sanskrit words, though 
it has disappeared from those words in Sanskrit itself. It is retained also in 
Marathi, Konkani, and other neighbouring Aryan languages. The lingual / of 
the Vedic Sanskrit is regarded, not as an independent consonant, but as a substi- 
tute for ^. It will be shown hereafter that d often changes into I in the Dra- 
vidian languages, and that / in its turn som'etimes changes into d. 



adopted the sound from their Indian neighbours, in the same way that 
the Scandinavians appear to have adopted a similar sound from their 
neighbours the Lapps, who are undoubtedly Tartars ; the Icelanders, 
who retain the old Scandinavian language, pronouncing the words 
falla and fulh' as though written /ac?/a and fudlr. 

" It is certainly the case that this peculiar articulation has not been 
noticed as cerebral, so far as I know, by the writers who have treated 
of those languages ; but this may be accounted for from the fact that 
Tartars have had few, if any, native grammarians; that, generally 
speaking, their languages are unwritten, and that, where written, the 
alphabet, not having been adopted by themselves, but given to them 
by nations more civilised than themselves, the difference between the 
dentals and cerebrals was not striking enough to a foreigner to induce 
him to invent new characters to designate the sounds new to him. 
But the existence of a ^ or d, convertible into l, is well known to 
Finnish philologers. Gastrin, a Finnlander, in his ' Ostiak Gram- 
mar,' uses distinct characters for the cerebral and dental d and t, 
though not giving them these denominations, and directs that the 
former should be pronounced somewhat aspirated, with the addition of 
/, as did or dl, and thl or tl; observing that similar sounds occur in 
the Lappish and Finnish tongues." 

The theory of the origin of the lingual consonants advocated above 
has been found to be in accordance with Professor Benfey's views. In 
his " Gomplete Sanskrit Grammar," p. 73 (I quote Dr Muir's trans- 
lation of the passage, " Sanskrit Texts," part ii. 460), the Professor 
says, " The mute cerebrals have probably been introduced from the 
phonetic system of the Indian aborigines into Sanskrit, in which, how- 
ever, they have become firmly established." 

On the other hand, Dr Buhler, Professor of Sanskrit in the Elphin- 
stone College, Bombay, argues, in a very able paper in the Madras 
Journal of Literature for 1864 (pp. 116-136), that I have not estab- 
lished my position, and that it is more probable that the sounds in 
question have been developed by the Sanskrit independently of other 
tongues, and spontaneously. I regret that this valuable contribution 
to Indian philology has not, so far as I know, been reprinted in Europe. 
We are so far in agreement that Dr Biihler thinks I have " proved two 
things beyond all doubt — firstly, that the so-called ' cerebrals,' or, as 
they are now termed. Unguals, of the Dravidian dialects are not derived 
from the Sanskrit ; and, secondly, that they did not belong to the 
original sounds of the primitive Indo-European tongues." 

He goes on to say, " Dr Caldwell's statements contain a little error 
in point of fact. He says, 'None of the Unguals has ever been discovered 
in any of the primitive languages which are related to Sanskrit' This 
is perfectly true in regard to t, th, dh, and n, but the Sanskrit r, ri, 
rt, and shy are, according to the testimony of the grammarians and of 


the pronunciation of tlie modern Pandits, likewise lingual ; the second 
and fourth of these sounds {ri, sh) are found in Zend exactly in the 
same words and forms as in Sanskrit ; and the first (r) is common to 
all the Indo-European languages." I was aware that sh was a lingual 
sound, and also that it was contained in Zend as well as in Sanskrit ; 
but the fact that this sh was unknown to the Dravidian languages, 
though in such common use in Sanskrit, was adduced by me (in para- 
graph 3) for the purpose of proving that the other Unguals, which 
are in still more common use in the Dravidian dialects than in San- 
skrit, could not have been borrowed from the Sanskrit by those dia- 
lects. My argument referred to the cerebrals or Unguals of the third 
varga alone, viz., t, d, n; and it is admitted by Dr Buhler that these 
sounds were not originally contained in any of the Indo-European 
languages, and that in Sanskrit itself, though their use is very ancient, 
they are an " innovation." I admit that r, ri, and ri, notwithstanding 
their vocalic softness, have a just claim to be ranked amongst Unguals. 
The Indian r, whether in Sanskrit or in the vernaculars, I consider more 
decidedly lingual than the r of Europe. It is one of the most difficult 
letters to Europeans; and the Dravidian languages contain, besides 
the r they have in common with Sanskrit, two r's of their own, more 
lingual and more difficult still. I did not enter into the consideration 
of the lingual characters of r in connection with my argument, because 
this consonant, whatever minute differences may be observed in its 
pronunciation in different countries, is the common property of all the 
organic languages of Europe and Asia, and also because, though the 
influence of a contiguous r is well known to have largely contributed 
to the development in Sanskrit of the lingual sounds t, d, n, it is 
scarcely, if at all, possible to detect the operation of any such influence 
in the Dravidian languages, in which the lingual sounds seem to have 
occupied from the beginning an essential place of their own in the 
differentiation of roots. 

The chief value of Dr Buhler's paper consists in the fulness and 
clearness with which he traces the progressive stages of the develop- 
ment in Sanskrit of the lingual sounds in question, especially through 
the phonetic influence of r and sh. He summarises his results thus : — 
" We have seen that the ancient Unguals r and sh produced lingual 
mutes and nasals, either independently or assisted by the universal 
law of assimilation, and that also ri and rt, the two lingual vowels, the 
former of which at least belongs to the pre-Sanskritic period, brought 
about the same result. Hence the Hindii contracted a liking for these 
sounds, and changed not only h, which, on account of its changeable 
nature, easily lent itself to this proceeding, to dh, but also dentals to 
the corresponding Unguals. Moreover, I have pointed out repeatedly 
how the predilection for Unguals becomes stronger and stronger in 
course of time — how in the daughter-languages of Sanskrit, and in their 
daughters, laws which cause the production of Unguals become more 
and more stringent." 

He then states that the probability of the theory advocated by him 
would be considerably enhanced if it could be shown that languages, 
other than the Sanskrit, tave independently developed sounds of the 
Ungual class, and proceeds to argue that such sounds have actually 


been developed in modern times in various Teutonic and Slavonic dia- 
lects, especially in English, though they have not been distinguished 
as such in grammars. He quotes Professor H. H. Wilson as an English 
writer who has recognised the existence of Unguals in his own language. 
Professor Wilson says (" Sanskrit Grammar," p. 3), *' The Sanskrit 
consonants are generally pronounced as in English, and we have, it 
may be suspected, several of the sounds for which the Sanskrit alpha- 
bet has provided distinct signs, but of which signs are wanting with 
us. This seems to be the case with the cei^ehrals. We write but one 
t and one d, but their sounds differ in such words as trumpet and 
tongue, drain and den, in the first of which they are cerebrals, in the 
second dentals." There is no doubt, I think, that the sound of the 
English t and d, in such connections, is slightly lingual, and also this 
semi-lingual sound is developed through the influence of the contiguous 
r. The case would be stronger, however, I think, if r preceded the 
dental or nasal, instead of following it, and if the vowel preceding r 
were long, not short. Thus the sounds t, d, and n, in the English 
words mart, yard, and barn, seem to me to have more of the character 
of the Indian Unguals than in trumpet and drain. Dr BUhler pro- 
ceeds to observe that the proper persons to decide this question are the 
natives of India. He says, " Every Englishman who has learned 
either Mahrathi, Guzerathi, Hindi, or Bengali, from a native teacher, 
will have observed that the Sastri or Munshi constantly corrects his 
pronunciation, not of the Unguals, but of the dentals, and tells him 
that he (the pupil) always uses the former instead of the latter. The 
conclusion to be drawn from this fact is, that the Englishman is familiar 
with the first class of sounds only. Besides, the natives of India, in 
transliterating English words, constantly use their Unguals to express 
the English so-called dentals. They write, for instance, ^irektar, instead 
of cZirector, gavarnment, instead of governme??,?!, &c." 

There is undoubtedly a measure of truth in the supposition advo- 
cated above. The English t, d, and n, approach more nearly to the 
sound of the Indian Unguals than to that of the dentals, especially 
when intensified by a contiguous r. The influence of r on a contigu- 
ous d in English is well known. Hence, in several grammars of the 
Indian vernaculars intended for the use of Englishmen, students are 
advised to begin learning tlie lingual sounds by fancying the t, d, or n 
of the vernacular preceded by r. It accords generally also with my 
experience that Englishmen have less diflficulty in acquiring the lingual 
sounds than in learning the peculiarly soft, distinctively dental sounds 
of the Indian t, d, and n. Beyond this, however, I am unable to go. 
There is still a great gulf, I conceive, between the slightly lingualised 
English dentals and the true Indian Unguals, — a gulf which many 
European students of the Indian languages are never able to pass as 
long as they live (though they themselves are generally the last people 
to suppose this to be the case). The difference between the two classes 
of sounds could not be better illustrated than by getting a native 
unacquainted with English to pronounce the two words referred to by 
Professor Biihler, which have become naturalised in the country, and 
especially the long list of similar words, with their native translitera- 
tions, given at the end of Dr BUhler's paper by the editor of the 


Madras Literary Journal. Every person who has taught English to 
Indians knows how difficult it is to get them out of their lingual pro- 
nunciation of the English t and d. 

Up to this point, all the lingual sounds referred to by Dr Biihler, 
whether in Sanskrit and the Indian vernaculars derived from it, or in 
the tongues of modern Europe, have been found to be, and have been 
admitted to be, merely phonetic developments. Does this appear to 
be the case also in the Dravidian languages ? I do not find any appre- 
ciable difference between any one of these languages and the rest with 
regard to the use of t or d; but a considerable difference is apparent 
with regard to the use of n and the peculiarly Dravidian Unguals r, r, 
and I. Many words which have tz- and I in the other dialects have n 
and I in Telugu. Are we to explain this by supposing that Telugu 
remained unchanged, whereas in the other dialects, especially in Tamil 
and Malayalam, a certain fondness for the lingual sounds (that is, for 
the more distinctive sounds, as compared with the less distinctive) 
developed itself more and more as time went on, as has been the case 
in Sanskrit and the North Indian vernaculars'? I think not. On the 
contrary, the existence in several of the Dravidian languages of a ten- 
dency to soften down these distinctive sounds is capable of being 
proved by a comparison of the ancient dialects of those languages with 
the modern. Thus old Canarese had the deep, vocalic, lingual r of the 
Tamil and Malayalam, whilst the modern Canarese has lost it. This 
sound does not now exist in Telugu, and it cannot clearly be proved 
that it ever had it ; but the analogy of all the other dialects leads 
us to conclude that it had it originally, and that it lost it in course 
of time, as we know that Canarese did. Even in Tamil, it seems 
merging, in most parts of the country, either into I or y, and the true 
pronunciation is now seldom heard. Both in Canarese and in Telugu 
the use of the hard lingual r, of which Tamil and Malayalam are 
so fond, has become almost entirely obsolete, though the use of this 
consonant by the poets testifies to its currency in olden times. In 
Tulu this r has altogether disappeared, its place being generally sup- 
plied by j. It seems probable, therefore, that in those instances in 
which Telugu has n and I, whilst the other dialects have 7i and I, 
Telugu represents, not the older, but the more modern, usage of the 
people. Even though it should be admitted that Tamil carried its 
predilection for lingual sounds beyond the first phase of the language 
into the period when its secondary themes, derivatives, and inflexional 
suffixes were formed, it would still have to be remenibered — (and in 
this respect it would differ widely from the Sanskrit) — that the place 
those sounds held in the first phase of the language itself was certainly 
far from being merely phonetic. Large numbers of the oldest verbal 
roots in the language, representing the most primitive and necessary 
ideas, are diflferentiated from other roots solely by the difference be- 
tween the two classes of consonants. The following Tamil instances 
will suffice : — 

kudiy to leap. • en, to say. 

kud% to drink. en, to count. 

pudei, to hide.* manei, a house. 

pudeij to sift. manei, a stool. 




to make a noise. 


to be scarce. 


to tie. 


to cut oflf. 


to dig. 


to weep. 


to drum. 


to kill. 


to gnaw. 

. Tcol, 

to take. 


to know. 


to end. 


to destroy. 


' to bore. 

When these instances of the use of the lingual consonants in Tamil, 
which is richest in Unguals, and which may be accepted in this parti- 
cular as the best representative of the Dravidian family, are compared 
with the uses to which the Unguals are put in Sanskrit, as amply illus- 
trated by Dr Biihler, it will be apparent at once that the position 
occupied by the Unguals in the Dravidian dialects differs essentially 
from that occupied by them in Sanskrit and the dialects derived from 
it. They evidently pertain, not to the phonetic development or eupho- 
nic refinement of the Tamil, but to its system of foots, meanings, and 
laws of specialisation. They take us back to a point in the history of 
the language beyond which we cannot hope to be able to ascend. If 
Sanskrit were to be deprived of its Unguals, there is hardly an idea or 
shade of thought it expresses now which it would not then be equally 
able to express ; but if Tamil were deprived of its Unguals, it would 
cease to be able to express some of the most rudimentary, necessary 
ideas, and would scarcely be worthy to be called a language. 

The position occupied by the lingual consonants in Sanskrit and in 
the Dravidian languages respectively being now fully before us, we come 
back to the question at issue, How did these sounds first make their 
appearance in Sanskrit 1 The question, it appears to me, is mainly 
one of probabilities. Speaking generally, with a reservation of the 
slight modifications already admitted, these sounds are peculiar to 
India. We find them in both the varieties of highly-organised human 
speech, the Sanskritic and the Dravidian, which have existed in India 
side by side for three thousand years ; and there is reason to believe 
that for an unknown period before that the Sanskrit-speaking race came 
into still closer contact with the Dravidians (or with some people 
speaking a language analogous in structure to that of the Dravidian 
tongues), not only after they arrived in India and occupied the seats of 
the Dravidians, but possibly even before they crossed the Indus, whilst 
on their way through the country of the Brahuis. Which, then, is the 
more probable supposition? — that these peculiarly Indian lingual 
sounds developed themselves spontaneously and quite independently in 
each of those varieties of speech, the Sanskritic and the Dravidian ? or 
that they had a common origin, having developed themselves first in 
one family, and then spread from that to the other 1 The balance of 
probabilities seems to me in favour of the latter supposition ; and if 
this supposition of a common origin be adopted, we seem then to be 
warranted in concluding that it was in the speech of the primitive 
Dravidians that these sounds originated, and that it was through Dra- 
vidian influences that a predilection for these sounds developed itself 
in the speech of the Indo- Aryan race. It is freely admitted by Dr 
Biihler that " the Unguals of the Dravidian dialects are not derived 


from the Sanskrit." On tlie supposition, therefore, that they have a 
common origin, would it not follow that Sanskrit must have derived 
them from the Dravidian dialects ? 

Dr BUhler argues that " the possibility of the borrowing of sounds 
by one language from another has never yet been proved," and that 
" comparative philologists have admitted loan-theories too easily, with- 
out examining facts." " Regarding the borrowing of sounds," he 
says, " it may suffice for the present to remark, that it never has been 
shown to occur in the languages which were influenced by others in 
historical times, such as English, Spanish, and the other Romance 
languages, Persian, <fec." " We find still stronger evidence," he says, 
" against the loan-theory in the well-known fact that nations which, 
like the Jews, the Parsees, the Slavonian tribes of Germany, the Irish, 
&c., have lost their mother-tongues, are, as nations, unable to adopt 
with the words and grammatical laws also the pronunciation of the 
foreign language." I am quite prepared to agree with Dr Biihler up 
to a certain point. ' I admit that many nations, possibly that most 
nations, even whilst adopting wholesale the words of other nations with 
whom they have been brought into close contact, are found to have 
retained thetr own pronunciation without acquiring the peculiarities of 
the pronunciation of those other nations. But admitting it to be a fact 
that ten nations have not borrowed sounds from other nations, it is 
unsafe to argue from this that the eleventh nation cannot have done so. 
It is merely a question of fact ; and if we find it in any case to be a 
fact that this supposed impossibility has taken place, all we can do is 
to add this new fact to our existing stock of facts, and modify our 
theories accordingly. An interesting illustration of the necessity of 
leaving an opening for new facts may be discovered in a portion of Dr 
Biihler's own argument. " Let us consider," he says, " the case of the 
English. Though half of its words have been imported by the Norman 
race, though most of the old Saxon inflexions have perished in the 
struggle between the languages of the conqueror and the conquered, 
though in some instances even Norman affixes have entered the organism 
of the original language, the quietism of the Saxon organs of speech 
has opposed a passive and successful resistance to the introduction of 
foreign sounds. The English has received neither the clear French a, 
nor its u, nor its peculiar nasals. On the contrary, it has well preserved 
its broad, impure vowels and diphthongs, and it is now as difficult for 
an Englishman to pronounce the French a or u, as it was for his Saxon 
ancestors eight hundred years ago." This argument is well worked 
out. It proves conclusively that the English, whilst adopting much 
of the vocabulary of the Normans, did not adopt their pronunciation. 
But what shall we say about the Normans themselves 1 Not two 
hundred years had elapsed since the first settlement of the Northmen 
in France when they conquered England ; and during that short time 
they had not only exchanged their own Norse for the French of the 
period, but had adopted those sounds — had acquired those peculiarities 
of pronunciation — which Dr BUhler treats as distinctively and inalien- 
ably French. The very sounds to which he refers — the clear French 
a, the u, and its peculiar nasals, and of which he says that it is as 
difficult for an Englishman to pronounce them now as for his Saxon 


ancestors eight hundred years ago -are sounds which the Northmen" 
only a short time before their arrival in England had picked up from 
the race they conquered. What can be said of this, but that the 
imitativeness of the Normans is as much a fact in history, and as much 
entitled to throw whatever light it can on the possibilities of Indian 
philology, as the passiveness of the early English? May not this at 
least be inferred, that if the Normans had so much of the faculty of 
imitation as to be able to adopt the language of a race with which they 
came in contact, pronunciation and all, it requires no straining of the 
imagination to suppose the Sanskrit-speaking race imitative enough 
to adopt — not the language of the race that preceded them in India — 
not their pronunciation — but merely a certain peculiarity in their pro- 
nunciation of a few consonants with which tjiey could not^ fail to be 
struck 1 ^' 

" The possibility of the borrowing of sounds by one nation from 
another" receives an illustration from the " click" of Southern Africa ; 
and this illustration is all the more appropriate, seeing that the " click," 
somewhat like the lingual sounds of India, is not a new, independent, 
consonantal sound, but merely a peculiarity of pronunciation attaching 
to a certain class of consonants. Dr Bleek remarks, " The occurrence 
of clicks in the Kafir dialects decreases almost in proportion to their 
distance from the Hottentot border. Yet the most southern Tekeza 
dialects and the Se-suto have also (probably through Kafir influence) 
become to a slight extent possessed of this remarkable phonetic 
element." — JBleek's Comparative Grammar, p. 13. Bishop Callaway, 
in his preface to vol. i. part i. of his " Zulu Nursery Tales," Natal 
(and London, Triibner & Co.), says, " It is generally supposed that 
the sounds called clicks are a modern intrusion into the alliterative 
class of languages, arising from intercourse with the Hottentots." He 
adds, " The view that the clicks are not native to the alliterative lan- 
guages is quite in accordance with the theory I have formed of their 

One of Dr Biihler's objections to the supposition of the lingual mode 
of pronouncing certain consonants by the Sanskrit-speaking race hav- 
ing been derived from the Dra vidians is, that the words containing 
Unguals which I had represented as borrowed from the Dravidian 
languages by the Sanskrit are not numerous enough to render this 
supposition admissible. The number of such words might easily be 
increased; but I do not attribute the adoption of lingual sounds by 
the Aryans to the influence of the words, whether few or "many, 
borrowed by them from the Dravidians. It does not appear to me a 
necessary condition of the adoption of a peculiar pronunciation that 
" a great number of foreign words containing the particular letter 
should first be borrowed, and that the sound should thus become per- 
fectly familiar to the people." In the case of the South African 
" click," each tribe retains its own words, whilst pronouncing them in the 
Hottentot fashion. But we need not go beyond the Sanskrit-speaking 
race itself for an illustration of the possibility of a peculiarity in 
pronunciation making its way, not by the introduction of new words, 
but by the modification of the pronunciation of words already in exist- 
ence. Dr Biihler considers the Ungual sounds of the Sanskrit an inde- 


pendent development, " a phonetic innovation -which has outgrown in 
course of time its original and legitimate limits." He thinks it capable 
of proof that the dental sounds in Sanskrit are more ancient than the 
lingual, and that the predilection for lingual sounds went on gradually 
increasing. Supposing this granted, we are naturally led to inquire by 
what process the transformation of dentals to Unguals became a cha- 
racteristic of the language of the whole race ? It must have arisen, 
according to his theory, not from the adoption of new words, but from 
a certain peculiarity in the pronunciation of old words passing, like a 
new fashion, from one person to another. One person must have made 
a beginning ; that person's family must have imitated him ; from one 
family the peculiarity must have spread to the other families of the 
gtira; gdtra after gotra must gradually have caught the infection ; and 
then at last, when the usage became universal, the new literature of the 
race provided it with a lasting resting-place. It appears to me, there- 
fore, that, on Dr Biihler's hypothesis, as well as on mine, the borrowing 
of sounds must have been carried on on a very extensive scale. My 
hypothesis merely serves to show how this process may have received 
its first impulse, and been accelerated in its course. Probably also the 
Indo-Aryans were not the only people in ancient or later times amongst 
whom borrowing prevailed. How could the whole of the members of 
any nation or race have acquired its stock of distinctive sounds and 
words — how could organised varieties of speech have taken possession 
of the large areas in which they are now found — had not the practice 
stigmatised as the " loan-theory" been in continual operation? Descent 
accounts for much ; imitativeness, as it appears to me, for more. 

After writing the above, I found a discussion of the same question 
by Mr Beames in §§ 59, 60, of bis " Comparative Grammar of the 
Modern Aryan Languages of India." Mr Beames takes to some extent 
the same line as Dr Biihler, but he enters more fully into the investi- 
gation of the question of the relation of the cerebrals to the dentals. 
With much of what he says I fully agree. 

" The connection between dentals and cerebrals rests on the principle, 
which I shall do my best to prove in this section, that these two classes 
of sounds are really the weaker and stronger branches respectively of 
one and the same group, which, as being produced by the instrumen- 
tality of the tongue, may be comprehended under the general name of 
Unguals. From the nature of the case, it might be anticipated that 
Sanskrit, in its polished or classical stage, would incline to the use of 
the softer or dental branch, while, on the other hand, the popular 
speech, as represented by the Prakrits, would adhere to the harsher 
or cerebral forms. It will be seen in the sequel how far this anticipa- 
tion is borne out by facts The modern languages present at 

first sight an inextricable chaos and confusion. There are cases (a) 
where the Sanskrit has the dental, Prakrits and the moderns the cere- 
bral ; {fi) where Sanskrit has dental, Prakrit cerebral, and the moderns 
dental ; (y) where Sanskrit and Prakrit have dental, the moderns cere- 
bral ; (b) Sanskrit cerebral, Prakrit the same, but the moderns dental. 
There are also instances in which two words, apparently cognate, diflfer 
only in this letter — one having the cerebral, the other the dental 

" There would seem to be some misapprehension as to the nature of 


tlie Aryan cerebrals, which are treated by European scholars as though 
they were a class of sounds unpronounceable by our organs, and only 
to be with difficulty learnt by persons who have heard them uttered by 
the natives of India. Inasmuch as they are only found in the Indian 
branch of the great Indo-Germanic family, it has been somewhat 
hastily concluded that they are foreign to that family ; and as a set 
of sounds which, in name at least, is identical with them, is found in 
the Dravidian languages, it has been assumed that these sounds are of 
non- Aryan origin, and that they have sprung partly from a tendency to 
harshen the pronunciation of the dentals acquired by the Aryans from 
their non- Aryan neighbours since their arrival in India, and partly 
from a wholesale importation of non- Aryan words into Sanskrit and 
its modern descendants. 

" Without absolutely denying the possibility that both of these 
theories may contain a certain amount of truth, I would bring forward 
some considerations to show that they are not either undoubtedly 
correct, or even necessary to account for the presence of these sounds. 

" To go to the root of the matter, we may endeavour to get at a true 
perception of the real state of the question by analysing the sounds 
themselves. All consonants are produced by checking the outward 
flowing breath, through bringing into contact two of the organs of the 
mouth. Among these checks there is a regularly graduated series, 
produced by the contact of the tip of the tongue with the region ex- 
tending from the centre of the palate to the edges of the upper teeth. 
This series may be called the lingual series. If the tongue-tip be 
applied to the highest point of this region — that is, to the centre of 
the hard or true palate — the sounds are harsh, and 'similar to the letter 
r. Contact a little lower down, or more towards the front, produces a 
sound less harsh, and so on ; the more forward the contact the softer 
the sound, till at last, when we get to the edge of the teeth, the sound 
which results is extremely soft and smooth. The sounds of this series, 
as expressed by the Teutonic branch of the family, are among the 
harsher, though not absolutely the harshest, notes of the series. In 
expressing t and d, we Teutons touch with our tongues the gum or 
fleshy part of the palate just above the teeth. The Southern European 
races form the contact lower down, just where the osseous substance 
of the teeth issues from the gums, thus producing a softer sound than 
the Teutons. The Persians and Indians form it low down on the 
teeth, almost at their edge, thus producing the softest sound of all. 
This Indian sound, being the result of impact on the teeth, is a true 
dental. We Teutons have no dental sounds at all, and the Italians have 
only semi-dentals. The Indians have, however, in addition to their 
true dentals, another series produced by contact at a point a very little, 
if at all, higher than the Teutonic contact, so that they possess, so to 
speak, the highest and lowest notes of the scale, but not the inter- 
mediate ones. 

" With the exception of the harsh Indian contact, the Teutonic is the 
highest in the scale, and the reason of this is probably that the race 
which uses it, living in a cold country, has preserved that nervous 
vigour which enables it to employ its organs of speech firmly and 
crisply. In the South of Europe the warmer climate has induced a 


certain amount of laxity, which has told on the articulation, and the 
point of contact has therefore fallen lower, to a position which requires 
less effort on the part of the speaker ; while in the still hotter climate 
of Persia and India, greater relaxation has taken place, and the muscles 
of the tongue have become flaccid ; the member itself is long and soft, 
and naturally seeks the lowest and easiest place of utterance. Thus it 
comes to pass that the words which the Teutons pronounce with t and 
d are pronounced by the Indians with t and d. While daughter, as 
pronounced by an Englishman, would be written by the Indians ddtar, 
they themselves at an early period said duhitd. If we could find out 
how the word was pronounced by the Aryans before they descended 
into the plains of India, we should probably have to write it duhatd, 
or rather, in those days the sounds represented by the letters t and d 

did not exist The relaxation indicated by those letters must 

have taken place after the Aryans came into this country. Before that 
time, and probably for some centuries after it, their lingual contact 
was, we may fairly assume, as crisp and firm, and its place as high up 
in the palate, as that of their European brethren. In those days they 
knew of no distinction between ^ and t, d and d. They had, how- 
ever, in their language words in which an r preceded or followed a 
dental, and in such combinations their lingual sounds assumed by 
degrees a harsher note, being produced by a contact nearer to the place 
of utterance of r, which is very high up in the palate. The people, 
though they gradually softened their place of contact, and brought it 
lower down in the mouth in the case of a single consonant, naturally 
retained a high contact when an r was in combination, and this habit 
must have become more and more marked as time went on. In pro- 
portion as the point of utterance of t and d sank lower in the mouth, 
the distance between it and the point of utterance of r got greater and 
greater, and the additional labour of moving the tongue from one point 
to the other increased, and to avoid this, the higher and harsher point 
of contact for t and d was retained. Then as the r, under the influence 
of other phonetic laws, began to be regularly omitted, nothing remained 
but the Unguals at a high point of contact — that is, what we now call 
cerebrals. So that when at length the art of writing was introduced, 
the national pronunciation had by that time become so fixed that it 
was necessary to recognise the existence of two separate sets of lingual 
utterances, and to provide appropriate symbols for each. But when 
they were confronted by the task of assigning either cerebral or 
dental Unguals to any individual word, the grammarians to whose 
lot it fell to reduce their already highly-developed language to writ- 
ing, must have had a difficult problem to solve. It is perhaps not to 
be expected that we should be able at this distance of time to detect 
the principles on which they worked, or to ascertain what were the 
considerations which guided them in determining in each case whether 
to write a dental or a cerebral. It results, however, from the remarks 
just made, that what we now call the cerebrals are the real equivalents 
of the European t and d, and that it is not these,- but the Indian dentals 
which are peculiar to those tongues. It is fair, therefore, to assume 
that the original form of such words as those which are given above as 
examples, is that which retains the cerebral, and that the dental form 


has grown out of the cerebral one by the process of weakening and 
softening which the Aryan organs of speech have undergone from the 
eflfects of climate. It would certainly be in full and complete harmony 
with the present theory that the Prakrits, regarded as the colloquial 
languages, should exhibit a more frequent use of the cerebral, while 
the Sanskrit, regarded as the language of literature, should prefer the 
softer dental ; and, as has been stated above, it is actually asserted by 
several authors that this is the case. Unfortunately, however, an 
examination of such examples of Prakrit as are available by no means 
bears out this assertion, and the evidence of the modern languages, 
which is of almost conclusive importance in this respect, shows that 
both dental and cerebral are used with equal frequency, even in 
derivatives from a common root ; and more than this, dentals are used 
in cases where the recorded Sanskrit wdrd is written only with a 

" It must have struck every one who has resided in India that the 
native ear, though keen and subtle beyond belief in detecting minute 
differences of sound in native words, is very dull and blunt in catching 
foreign sounds. The ordinary peasant, who never mistakes sdt, seven, 
for sdt, sixty, however softly or rapidly spoken, will often be quite 
unable to catch a single word of a sentence in his own language, how- 
ever grammatically correct, and however distinctly uttered by an 
European, simply on account of some apparently trifling difference in 
pronunciation. Now we see something of this sort in the Prakrit of 
the plays. The slight differences or rudenesses of pronunciation among 
the lower classes were made much of by play-writers, and exaggerated 
almost grotesquely. This tendency probably led to the practice of 
writing every n in Prakrit as oi, and will also account for much of the 
irregularity in the employment of the cerebrals and dentals. Provin- 
cial peculiarities of pronunciation, such as exist in the present day in 
various parts of India, were seized upon and fixed, and words were 
spelt accordingly, without reference to their etymology. 

*' One of the most striking of these provincial peculiarities is the 
fondness of the Sindhi for cerebrals. This language has preserved the 
harsher point of contact, and has not allowed itself to be weak and soft. 
The sturdy Jats, wandering over their barren deserts, were engaged in 
a constant struggle with nature for the bare permission to exist, and 
there was therefore little risk of their becoming languid or effeminate 
in speech or in any other qualification. 

''The further transition of the cerebrals and dentals into the semi- 
vowel Ms a point attended with some obscurity. The process seems, 
like so many phonetic processes in the Indian languages, to work back- 
wards and forwards, and to branch out into further collateral develop- 
ment, as into I ( ^ ), r, and the like. I is a dental letter, and the 
change from d to d and then to I, involving, as it does, a passage from 
a dental to a cerebral, and back again to the dental, can only be 
accounted for on the supposition advanced above, that originally there 
was no difference between the two classes of sounds, and that, subse- 
quently to the rise and establishment of this difference, the popular 
ear has continued to recognise the close connection of the two, and to 
be a little uncertain when to use one, and when the other 


" I will now sum up what has been said about the cerebrals and 
dentals, and the two forms of /. The cerebrals are the harsher, the 
dentals the softer, forms of the lingual series. The former correspond 
very nearly to our English sounds, the latter are unlike any sound 
current in Europe, and have arisen from the debilitating effects of a 

hot climate From all these circumstances we infer the original 

unity of all the lingual group, and its affinity to the European 

Mr Beames has discussed the origin of the cerebral sounds, and the 
nature of the difference between them and the dentals so exhaustively, 
and I am so perfectly in agreement with him in much of what he says, 
that, though I have already given to the discussion of this subject too 
large a share of the space at my disposal, I have thought it best to 
reprint nearly all he has said in extenso, and allow it to speak for itself, 
contenting myself with making only a few remarks on that portion of 
his theory which runs counter to my own. I need not repeat anything 
I have said in my remarks on Dr Biihler's paper. Whilst I admit 
that the dentals of the European languages are only partially dentals, 
and that the dentals of the languages of India, being formed into a 
class by themselves separate from the cerebrals, are more perfectly 
worthy of being called by that name, I do not admit that the Indian 
cerebrals represent the original sounds of the letters of the lingual class 
better than the dentals. 

In another passage (p.. 264), Mr Beames speaks of the cerebrals as 
" regarded by the Pandits, who worked at a time w^hen the usual 
lingual contact of their nation had passed down to a lower point of 
contact, as in some way derived from the dentals ; an erroneous view, 
in which they have been followed by many European scholars." In this 
matter, as it appears to me, the Pandits have not fallen into error. 
Dentals were regarded as best representing the true pronunciation of 
old Aryan words, not only at the time when Panini and the gram- 
matical writers lived, but also at the time when Sanskrit compositions 
were first committed to writing. Cerebral sounds had by that time 
come to be sharply distinguished from dentals, and a separate set of 
characters had been invented for their expression ; yet, on comparing 
the stock of words possessed in common by the Sanskrit and the other 
languages of the Indo-European group, it will be manifest that dentals 
were in almost every instance preferred. Cerebral sounds seem to 
have been treated as novelties, or at least as later developments, 
whereas dentals were regarded as a portion of the old Aryan inherit- 
ance. But this line of argument is capable of being carried much 
further back. Long before grammatical rules were formed — long 
before writing was introduced — at that early period when the Vedic 
hymns began to be composed, and sacrificial formulae began to be 
handed down from priest to priest, the same distinction between dentals 
and cerebrals, and the same preference for dentals, evidently existed. 
I cannot do better than quote Mr Beames himself. He says (Intro- 
duction, p. 5), "Although Panini lived in an age when the early Aryan 
dialects had already undergone much change from their pristine con- 
dition, yet among the BraJ^mans, for whom alone he laboured, there 
existed a traditional memory of the ancient, and then obsolete, form of 


many words. They would remember those archaic forms, because 
their religious and professional duties required them constantly to 
recite formulae of great antiquity, and of such sacredness that every 
letter in them was supposed to be a divinity in itself, and which had 
consequently been handed down from primeval times absolutely un- 

Again, if Mr Beames's theory respecting the origin of the Sanskrit 
dentals and the antiquity of the cerebrals were perfectly tenable, it 
ought to be applicable also to the dentals and cerebrals of the Dra- 
vidian languages. It ought to be evident, or at least should appear 
probable, that the Dravidian dentals were a later class of sounds than 
the cerebrals, brought into existence by the heat of the climate. But 
there is no ground whatever for such a supposition, in so far as the 
Dravidian languages are concerned, for dentals as well as cerebrals 
show themselves, as I have already mentioned, in the oldest and most 
necessary roots in each dialect, and cerebrals are more largely used in 
Tamil, which is spoken in the extreme south of the peninsula, where 
the heat is greatest, than in Telugu, which is spoken where the heat is 
less intense. Moreover, the development of the cerebral sounds is not 
in any degree in the Dravidian languages, as in Sanskrit, owing to the 
influence of a contiguous r. It looks, indeed, as if it were to the heat 
of the Indian climate that the cerebral sounds — not the dentals — were 
owing. If it be admitted that the heat of the climate has an enervat- 
ing effect on the organs of speech, as it certainly has on the organs of 
digestion, may it not be supposed that the introduction into the speech 
of the people of the harsh piquant sounds of the cerebral letters was 
owing to the same cause to which they were indebted for the introduc- 
tion of hot, piquant curries into the list of their articles of food ? 

I quote here some observations of Mr Beames in confirmation of the 
line of argument taken by myself in my remarks on Dr Biihler's paper. 
" I am not in a position to point out how far or in what direction 
Aryan vocalism has been influenced by these alien races (Kols, Dravi- 
dians, &c.) ; but that some sort of influence has been at work is almost 
beyond a doubt. It may, however, be conjectured that the pronuncia- 
tion has been affected more than the written language, because the latter 
is always by conscious and intentional efforts kept up to some known 
standard. To one who has spent some years in the Panjab or Hin- 
dustan, the ordinary pronunciation of the Bengalis and Oriyas certainly 
sounds uncouth and foreign, and as these two races are surrounded by 
and much mixed up with non- Aryans, it is probable that the contiguity 
of the latter will eventually be found to have had much to do with this 
peculiarity."— P. 128. 

*' This curious heavy I is very widely employed in the Dravidian 
group of languages, where it interchanges freely with r and d, and it 
is also found in the Kol family of Central India. The Marathas and 
Oriyas are perhaps of all the Aryan tribes those which have been for the 
longest time in contact with Kols and Dravidians, and it is not sur- 
prising, therefore, to find the cerebral I more freely used by them than 

by the others It is noticeable in many languages, that where 

a nation gets hold of, or invents, some peculiar sound, it straightway 
falls in love with it, and drags it into use at every turn, whether there 


be any etymological reason for it or no. We English, for instance, 
have dragged our favourite th into a number of words where it has no 
business to be ; and similarly the Oriyas and Marathas bring in this 
beloved / where I should be." — P. 445. 

" Oriya and Maratha have long been spoken in tracts partly peopled 
by non- Aryans : in the case of the former, by Kols and Telingas ; in 
that of the latter, by Gonds, Bhils, and Canarese. The Aryans of 
Gujarat also displaced non-Aryan tribes, and may from them have 
caught this trick of speech (the use of broken vowels and a short e), as 
may also the Bengalis from the numerous wdld tribes on their fron- 
tiers." — P. 141. It will be seen that, whilst as regards the special 
question of the adoption of the cerebral sounds from the Dravidians by 
the Indo-Aryans, Mr Beames's opinion coincides, on the whole, with 
Dr Biihler's, as regards the general question of the possibility of pecu- 
liarities of pronunciation being borrowed by one people from another, 
with which it is very much mixed up, his opinion coincides with mine. 
I claim his vote also with regard to one of the cerebrals themselves — 
the cerebral /, 

Dr Trumpp, in his recently-published " Grammar of the Sindhi Lan- 
guage," advocates the view of this question I have taken. He thinks 
the North Indian vernaculars have been considerably influenced by the 
Dravidian, or at least non-Aryan, languages spoken by the Indian 
aborigines ; and, in particular, attributes the cerebrals to this source. 
" The cerebrals," he says, " comprise the most non-Aryan elements of 
the language (the Sindhi)." He thinks " nearly three-fourths of the 
words which commence with a cerebral are taken from some aboriginal 
non- Aryan idiom, which in recent times has been term.ed Scythian, but 
which we should prefer to call Tatar." " This seems," he says, " to 
be very strong proof that the cerebrals have been borrowed from some 
idiom anterior to the introduction of the Aryan family of languages. 
The Sanskrit uses the cerebrals very sparingly, but in Prakrit, which 
is already considerably tinged with so-called ' provincial,' that is, with 
non- Aryan elements, they struggle hard to supplant the dentals." — 
P. 21. Hence the preference by natives of cerebrals to dentals in the 
transliteration of European words, of which so much use is made by 
Dr BUhler and Mr Beames, appears to be merely in accordance with 
the preference of cerebrals to dentals exhibited in the Prakrits, and 
which is found in full operation in the dialects which have sprung from 
the Prakrits. This preference simply proves, in Dr Trumpp's opinion, 
that the cerebrals are more familiar to the people of India than the 
dentals (p. 24). He attributes also to Dravidian influences the aver- 
sion of the Prakrit to aspirates, and the peculiar pronunciation certain 
letters {ch and /) have received in certain connections in Marathi. 
Mr Edkins (in " China's Place in Philology ") remarks that in the 
Malay alphabet a Dravidian influence may be suspected in the cerebral 
series of letters t, d, n. The initial consonant in Malay is generally 
single, as in the Dravidian tongue. 

The Dravidian I (as will be seen under the next head) is inter- 
changeable with the cerebral d, through their middle point, the vocalic 


r. All these letters indeed appear to have a cognate origin. They 
are so easily interchanged, that one is tempted to consider them all 
merely as varieties of one and the same sound. 

Dialectic Inteechange of Consonants. — Under this head I 
intend to consider, not the euphonic refinements which have been 
tabulated, and perhaps in part invented, by grammarians, but those 
natural, unintentional mutations and interchanges which are brought 
to view by a comparison of the various Dravidian dialects. These 
dialectic interchanges will be found to throw much light on the Dra- 
vidian laws of sound, whilst they enable us to identify many words 
and inflexional forms contained in the various dialects, which appear 
at first sight to be unconnected, but which are in reality the same. 

Following, as before, as far as possible, the order of the Deva-n^gari 
alphabet, I proceed to point out the dialectic changes to which each 
Dravidian consonant appears to be liable. I omit the aspirated con- 
sonants as not really Dravidian. 

1. The gutturals : h, g, h. 

g being merely the sonant of Tc, in the changes now to be inquired 
into, h and g will be regarded as identical. 

(i.) k, when used as a sonant — that is, as g — changes into v. Where 
we have g in Tamil, we sometimes find v in Telugu — e.g., dgu, Tarn, 
to become ; avu, Tel. In hd, the infinitive of this verb in Telugu, 
which corresponds to the Tamil dga, Tc (or g) reappears. It is in the 
middle of words, where it is a sonant, that this consonant evinces a 
tendency to be changed into v. This tendency constantly appears in 
the spoken language of the lower classes of the Tamil people in the 
Southern provinces ; and has found a place even in the poets — e.g., 
ndva, to be pained, instead of the more common noga. g in the 
middle of a word is sometimes lost altogether, not merely softened into 
V — e.g., pagudi, Tam. a share, has become pddi, half ; sagadu, a cart, 

In Telugu, v is often not only pronounced, but written, instead of 
g — e.g., pagadamu, coral, corrupted into pavadamu. Compare with 
this the change of the Sanskrit laghu, light, into the Latin levis. It 
will be seen that, per contra, v sometimes becomes g in Telugu. This 
change sometimes takes place in Malay alam also — e.g., chuvanna, red, 
is often chuganna (sivanda, Tam.) 

(ii.) k changes into ch or s. As the Tamil s becomes ch when 
doubled, and is represented in the alphabet by the equivalent of the 
Deva-n^gari c7l, the change of k into ch is identical with that of k 
into s. The former change appears in Telugu, the latter in Tamil. 


Compare the change of the Greek and Latin h into the Sanskrit k — 
e.g., dsxa and decern, softened into dasan, ten. 

Canarese generally retains h, the older pronunciation of this con- 
sonant j and where k is found in Canarese, we generally find ch in 
Telugu and s in Tamil — e.g.,hinna, Can. small; chinna, Tel.; Hnna, 
Tam. : hivi, Can. the ear ; chevi, Tel. ; sevi, Tarn. : gey, Can. to do ; 
cMy, Tel. ; ky, Tam. Sometimes the older k is retained by Tamil 
as well as by Canarese, and the softening appears in Telugu only — 
e.g., hedu, Tam. and Can. to spoil ; Tel. chedu or cheru. The word 
for hand is in Tamil hei, in Canarese keiyi, in Telugu kei (also kelu) ; 
but there is another word in Telugu, cM (cheyyi), the hand, which is 
the ordinary instrumental affix (cketa), and this is eviden-tly a softened 
form of kei or ke. 

A similar change of k into ch appears in Sanskrit — e.g., compare 
vdch-as, of speech, with the nominative vdk, speech. 

(iii.) kk change systematically into ch or chchf, This change may be 
regarded as the rule of the pronunciation' of the lower classes of the 
Tamil people in the southern districts; Farther north, and in gram- 
matical Tamil, it is rarely met with, but in the Telugu country the 
rule re-appears; and in a large class of words, especially in the forma- 
tives of verbs, the double k of the Tamil is replaced regulariy by ch in 
Telugu. The following in&tances of this change are contained even in 
grammatical Tamil ; — kdychchu, to boil, for the more regular kdykku, 
and pdychchu, to irrigate, for pdykku. A single illustration will suffice 
to illustrate the perfect conformity in this point between the vulgar 
pronunciation of Tamil in the extreme south and the regular gram- 
matical use of ch for kk in Telugu. Veikka, Tam. to place (infinitive), 
is pronounced veichcha by the illiterate in the southern Tamil districts ; 
and in grammatical Telugu the same word is both written and pro- 
nounced veicha. 

(iv.) k appears sometimes to have changed into t. I cannot adduce 
a good instance of this change in the Dravidian languages; but I 
suspect that the t of some inflexional terminations in G6nd (e.g., the 
nominative plural of the personal pronouns) has been derived from the 
Tamil k. Compare also vdkili, a doorway, Telugu, with the Malay alam 
form of the same word, vdtil or vddil. I am doubtful, however, 
whether this illustration can be depended upon, because the Tamil 
form of the same word is vdsal, classically vdyil, from vdy-il, literally 
mouth-house. In other families of languages the interchange between 
k and t is not uncommon — e.g., Doric ravo;, he, instead of s-xsTvog. 

2. The palatals : ch or s, j, nj. 

I class the changes of c^, s, and j together, those letters being in 


reality but one in the Dravidian languages. The only change to which 
this letter S or J is liable, is that of being softened into y. In words 
borrowed by Tamil from Sanskrit, y is optionally used instead of 5, 
and very commonly instead of J. Thus rdjd, Sans, a king (in Tamil 
rdsd^ and with the masculine formative, rds-an), becomes rdy-an. In 
the southern provinces of the Tamil country this change of s into 
y has become a characteristic of the pronunciation of the lower classes. 
In those provinces, in all words in which this letter occurs, whether 
Sanskrit or Tamil, the s is changed into y — -e.g., they say ariyi, rice, 
instead of arisi. In Malayalam this becomes ari. Dr Gundert thinks 
the d of the Tulu pudar, name, derived from the ^ of the corresponding 
Canarese pesar. If so, we have here a change of i into d. 

On comparing Canarese with Tamil, we often find s where we should 
have expected y — e.g.^ hesar (for pe^ar), Can. a name, instead of peyar, 
Tam. It seems unsafe, however, to assume that in these cases y was 
the original and s the corruption. It may as well be that s was the 
original and y the corruption. The Tamil peyar may therefore be a 
softened form of the Canarese hesar (Tulu, pudar), and what renders 
this more likely is that the Tamil peyar itself is still further softened 
into p^r. In high Tamil, as in Malayalam, the softened form is often 
preferred by the poets as more elegant. It may possibly therefore be 
more ancient — e.g., peim, green, is in both languages more poetical 
than pasum. All that is certain with regard to such cases is, that y 
and s often change places. The existence, however, of a dialectic 
change from s to y, as apparent especially in the southern districts, is 
clearly proved by the change Sanskrit derivatives have undergone. 

3. The Unguals or cerebrals : t, d, n. 

(i.) The lingual t, when used as a sonant and pronounced as d, is 
I sometimes changed into the vocalic r in Tamil — e.g., nddi, Sans, a 
measure, is commonly written and pronounced in Tamil ndri ; and this 
is colloquially pronounced ndli in the southern districts by a further 
change of r into I. In old Canarese this Sanskrit d often becomes 
r, as in Tamil. These letters are considered cognate, like r and r, I 
and I. In Tuda, d becomes r — e.g., ndd-u, a district, becomes ndr. 
The counterpart of this change — ^viz., the change of r into d — is still 
more common in the Dravidian languages. (See r.) In Telugu there 
are some instances of the change of d into the hard, rough r — e.g., 
chedu, to spoil (Tam. and Can. kedu), should have for its transi- 
tive form cheduchu, answering to the Tamil Icedukhu ; whereas chevuchu 
is used instead. 

(ii.) n. This lingual nasal is frequently softened in Telugu into 
n, the nasal of the dental row. Tamil, perhaps the most authentic 


representative of the ancient speech of the Dravidians, makes much 
use of n^ as well as of the other cerebrals ; and the colloquial 
Tamil goes beyond the grammatical Tamil in preferring n to n. W 
Telugu, on the other hand, whilst it uses the other cerebrals freely- 
enough, often prefers n to n. Thus it softens the Tamil (and old Dra- 
vidian) words Ican^ eye, vin^ heaven, man^ earth, into hannu, vinnu, and 
mannu. It softens even some Sanskrit words in a similar manner — 
e.g., in addition to gunamu, quality, a tatsama word, it uses also the 
tadbkava, gonamu. MalayMam sometimes uses n instead of n — 
e.g., ninalcku, to thee, instead of, but also in addition to, ninakhu. 
On the other hand, it sometimes softens n into n, like Telugu — e.g., 
tuniyu, daring, instead of the Tamil tunivu. So also enhadu, eighty, 
in Tamil, becomes embadu in Malay^lam. Tamil in general leaves n 
unassimilated to succeeding consonants — thus, pen, Tam. a female, has 
become pendu, without change ; but this n is hardened by assimilation / 
into t in pettei, female. So entu. Can. eight, which must have been ' 
the original form of the word in Tamil (en, eight, _^w, properly du, the 
neuter formative), has become in Tamil ettu. The n has disappeared 
altogether in pedei, for pettei, Tam. female. 
4. The dentals : t, d, n. 

i\.) t, or its sonant equivalent d, changes into r in Tamil, especially . - 

between two vowels. In the interchange of the cerebral d and r, r 
sometimes appears to have been the original sound, and d the corrup- 
tion ; but in the change which is now referred to, it is d that appears 
to be the original sound, which is changed into r. This change may 
arise from the circumstance that the r into which d is altered is pro- 
nounced very like a dental, and bears a considerable resemblance to 
d. In the southern districts of the Tamil country, the change of d 
(when preceded and followed by a vowel) into r or r is exceedingly 
common in the pronunciation of the lower classes ; but the same 
change has in some instances found its way into the written lan- 
guage — e.g., virei, seed, or to sow, instead of the more correct videi. 
In Canarese ad, the inflexional increment, or basis of most of the 
oblique cases of certain singular nouns, changes in some instances 
into ar — e.g., compare id-ar-a, of this, from id-u, this, with mar-ad-a, 
of a tree, from mara, a tree. In this instance the change from d 
to r, or some equivalent change, was obviously required by euphony : 
id-ad-a would have been intolerably monotonous, and mar-ar-a not 
less so. The ar of the Canarese idara is supposed by Dr Gundert 
to be the equivalent of the Tamil an in idan, of this. Even if this 
should be so, the change of d into r in Tamil, especially in the south, 
is indubitable. This change (of d into r) is not unknown to the 


North Indian languages ; and in that family it is often followed up 
by a further change of r into I. Some instances occur in Hin- 
dustani and Bengali — e.g.^ des, ten, becomes reh in the compound 
numbers, as bd-reh, twelve. An instance of the change of r into I 
is furnished by another compound numeral, sixteen, which is not 
s6-rehf but sd-leh. The Prakrit also changed d into r, as is seen 
in the instance of the word raJuty ten, which has superseded daha, 
a softened form of the Sanskrit dasa, and which is used instead of 
daha at the end of compound numerals. It seems to me possible, 
but not very probable, that in these cases, and also in the use in 
Bengali and Marathi of I instead of d or ^, as a sign of the pre- 
terite and passive participles, we see an evidence of the ancient 
prevalence of Dravidian influences in Northern India. It may be 
noticed here that the Umbrian also regularly changed d into r — e.g.j 
sedes was written seres. As in Tamil, however, this change took 
place only when d came between two vowels. 

\ (ii.) ^ or <i sometimes changes in Malayalam into l. This pecu- 
liarity is apparent chiefly in words borrowed from Sanskrit — je.g.j 
paltmam^ a lotus, from Sans, padma; Faltmandhha^ also vulgarly 
Palpandha, from Padmandhhaj the Travancore name of Vishnu, he 
who has a lotus navel ; tdlparyam, from Sans, tdtparya^ purpose. 
The Dravidian ^ar, pronounced iat^ euphonised from tan^ its own, the 
inflexion of tdn^ self, is also sometimes pronounced tal. 
(iii.) t Qx d sometimes changes into s. 

\ This change appears in Tamil in the optional use of s in the forma- 

tives of nouns, instead of d. Thus, pej-isu, large, or that which is large, 
is commonly used instead of peridu, the more correct form. The 
vulgar Tamil vayasu^ age, is derived, not directly from the Sanskrit 
vayas, as might be supposed, but from vayadu, the regular Tamil 
equivalent of vayas. In Telugu, also, d is frequently subject to this 

4 change. In Malayalam t and s interchange, especially in the speech of 
the vulgar. Dr Gundert mentions a curious instance of this inter- 
change. The lower classes, he says, sometimes say seivatte tevikha, to 
serve God, instead of teivatte sevikka. We appear to have a remarkable 
instance of the softening of d into S, of i into y, and finally of the 
obliteration of the y itself, in the Dravidian word already mentioned, 
signifying a name. This in Tulu is pudar, in ancient Canarese pesar^ 
in classical Tamil peyar, and finally in modern Tamil per. In Tuda 
d sometimes becomes tsh (or ch) — e.g., eid-u, Can. five, becomes 

\^ (iv.) nd changes in Tamil into nj. In this change j must be con- 
sidered as identical with s, being the sound which s takes when pre- 


ceded by a nasal ; and it is always expressed by i in Tamil. In this 
conjunction the dental n changes into n, which is the nasal of the 
palatal row. The change of nd into nj especially takes place after the 
vowels i or ei. In general it is heard in the pronunciation of the lower 
classes only ; but in a few instances it has found its way into gramma- 
tical compositions — e.g., eindu, five, has changed into ei%M, and this 
again, I believe, into anj'u, a form which is found even in the Tamil 
classics. The change of nd into nj is classical in Malay^lam. (See 
the numeral five.) 

(v.) tt change into chch in Tamil after the vowels i and ei. The 
change to which I refer appears to be one of dd into ss, if the form of 
the Tamil letters is regarded ; but it has already been explained that 
sonants become surds when doubled ; and hence dd must be expressed 
as ttf and ss as chch, this being their pronunciation when in juxtaposi- 
tion. The corruption of the double, soft dentals tt into the palatals si, 
■which are represented by chch, is peculiarly easy and natural. This 
chch which arises out of tt, though almost universally characteristic of 
the pronunciation of the mass of the Tamil people, as distinguished 
from the literati, is rarely found in grammatical compositions, except 
in the formatives of derivative nouns, especially after the semi-vowels 
r and r — e.g., unar-chchi, sensation, knowledge, instead of wriar-tti 
which is more in accordance with analogy. In Malayllam this change 
from tt to ch not only appears in the pronunciation of the vulgar, 
but is the rule of the language after the vowels i and e ; and ch is 
written as well as pronounced — e.g., compare chirichcha, that laughed, 
with the corresponding Tamil siritta. 

(vi.) n also changes, though still more rarely, into m — e.g., mtru, 
you, in Telugu, appears to have been altered from ntru, the form which 
answers to the Tamil nir, and which Telugu analogies would lead us 
to expect. (See the section on " The Pronoun.") 

5. The labials : p, h, m. 

(i.) ]} changes in Canarese.into h. This remarkable rule applies to . \^ 
the initial p of nearly all words in modern Canarese, whether they are 
pure Dra vidian words or Sanskrit derivatives — e.g., pattu, Tam. ten 
(padi, Tel.) is in Canarese hattu. In like manner, pana, money, a 
Sanskrit derivative, is in modern Canarese hana. This change of p 
into h seems to have taken place in comparatively recent times ; for in 
old Canarese, and in the dialect of the Badagas of the Nilgherries, 
p almost invariably maintains its ground. A change similar to this is 
occasionally apparent in the Mardthi, the neighbour of the Canarese 
on the north ; the Sanskrit participle hhitta-s, one who has been, being 
altered in Mar^thi to hdto — e.g., hoto-n, I was. Compare also the 




Prakrit hd-mi, I was, from hhilta-smi. A similar change of p into h 
appears in Armenian — e.g.y foot is in Armenian het (for pet), and 
father, hayr (for payr). 

It is curious to notice the same change in the far East. What \a p 
in Chinese became in Japanese first / then h. 

(ii.) 6, the sonant of jo, sometimes changes into m — e.g., padi, Tel. 
ten, becomes midi in tom-midi, nine, a compound which the analogy 
of both Tamil and Telugu would require to be tom-hadi; enhar, they 
wjll say, is often in poetical Tamil enmar; un-bdn, Tam. being about 
to eat, the future verbal participle of un in classical Tamil, becomes 
tin-mdn in Malayalam. h is also euphonically added to m in vulgar 
Tamil. I do not refer to such words as pdmhu, Tam. a snake, as com- 
pared with pdmUy Tel. ; for in those instances the m itself is euphonic, 
and hu (in Can. vu) is the real formative ; compare Can. hdvu (pdru), 
a snake. Cases in which the m is radical and the b euphonic occur 
plentifully in colloquial Tamil — e.g., Tcodumei, wheat, commonly pro- 
nounced kodumbei, from Sans. godhUma. 

(iii.) b is often softened into v in Tamil. Most transitive verbs in 
Tamil form their future tense by means of p or pp; and in the corre- 
sponding intransitives we should expect to find the future formed by 
h, the sonant of p. Where the root ends in a nasal consonant, this b 
appears ; but where it ends in a vowel, b is ordinarily changed into v. 
(See the section on " The Verb.") In some instances in the Tamil poets 
this b of the future is changed, not into v, but into m, according to the 
previous rule. 

(iv.) m changes into n. This change is often apparent in the nomi- 
natives of neuter nouns in Tamil, the ordinary termination of many of 
which is m, but which optionally terminate in n — e.g., pala-n, profit, a 
derivative iiomphala. Sans., is more commonly used than pala-m. In 
Telugu, Jcola-nu, a tank, answers to the Tamil kula-m. 

(v.) m changes into v. mdman, father-in-law, and mdmi, mother-in- 
law, in Tamil, are softened in Coorg into mdvu and mdvi; ndm, we, and 
nim, you, in ancient Canarese, are softened in the modern colloquial 
dialect to ndvu and nivu. 

6. The liquid consonants or semi-vowels : y, r, I, v, r, I, r. 

(i.) y changes into ft and n. In some cases, though it is certain that 
y and n interchange, it is uncertain which is the more ancient. Thus 
the Dra vidian pronoun of the first person is ndii, lidn, ydn, dn; and it 
might be argued either that ydn was derived from ndn, through the 
middle point ndn, or that, through the same middle point, ndn was 
derived from ydn. On examining, however, words borrowed from 
Sanskrit, there can be no doubt that in some instances at least y was 



the original and n the corruption. Thus, yu^a, Sans, a yoke, is in 
Tamil nugam^ and Yama^ the god of death, is sometimes Yaman, 
sometimes Naman. It is curious to trace the different forms this 
word assumes in Tamil. We find Yaman, Eman, Naman, and Naman. 
The European word "anchor" has become in Tamil nangkuram and 
nanghiiram. The change of y into n in yuga and Yama is mentioned 
by Tamil grammarians themselves. We have probably an instance of 
the same tendency in the change of the formative of the Tamil relative 
participle ya (y + a) into na — e.g., solliyay that said, becomes sollina, 
and this sonna. 

(ii.) y sometimes changes into d in Canarese and Tulu — e.g., ddva, f 
Can. who, which, what, alternates with ydva; ddvadu, what thing, 
with ydvadu. The latter word is dddavu in Tuju. 

(iii.) y changes into L It has been shown that c/i, s, and j are soft- ^ 
ened into y in Tamil. Notwithstanding this, and in direct opposition 
to it, we find in colloquial Tamil, especially in that of the southern dis- 
tricts, a tendency also to harden y into L Where i ought to be, it is 
pronounced as y, and where y ought to be, it is pronounced as s — e.g., 
pasi, hunger, is mispronounced by the vulgar payi; whilst vayaru, the 
belly, is transformed into vasaTu. This change of y into s is not con- 
fined to the south, though it is more frequently met with there. Even 
in Madras, payangal, boys, is pronounced pasangal, and ayal, near, is 
not only pronounced but written asal. The change of y into i, and 
again conversely of S into y, might seem to be owing to some peculiar 
perversity, but doubtless there is a cause for the change in each case, 
and hence it is not always easy to determine which is the original and 
which the corruption. Where y is used euphonically to prevent hiatus, 
it does not change into s. 

" y is regularly changed to J in Hindi, Panjabi, Bengali, and Oriya ; 
less frequently in Marathi, Gujarathi, and Sindhi. In these three 
languages y retains its liquid sound of y. This change is by Vararuchi 
confined to initial y. The stress laid on an initial consonant being 
greater than that on one in the middle of a word, it is natural that y 
should be more often changed to j in the former position than in the 
latter." — Beames, p. 249. 

(iv.) r changes to r. This, as might be expected, is a very common ^ 
change. What is r in one dialect is often r in another, or vice versa. 
The following is an example of both sounds interchanging in one 
and the same dialect : — In Tamil there are two words for black, karu 
and karu. They are now independent, with meanings that some- 
what divaricate, but there can be no doubt that they were originally 
identical. * 


(v.) r changes into I. r and I are found to be interchangeable in 
many families of languages. Dr Bleek, speaking of the Setshuana 
dialects, remarks, " One is justified in jconsidering r in these dialects as 
a sort of floating: letter, and rather intermediate between / and r than 
a decided r in sound." In the Dravidian family, this interchange of r 
and I is one of very common occurrence. Sometimes I is corrupted into 
r; but in a larger number of cases r appears to be the original, and I the 
corruption. In the case of the distinctively Dravidian r and I, the 
change is uniformly of the latter nature ; and the change of the ordi- 
nary semi-vowel r into the corresponding I, though not uniform, is an 
exceedingly common one, and one which may be regarded as a charac- 
teristic of colloquial Tamil. It is common in Malay ^lam also. It 
is especially at the beginning of words in Tamil that this change 
occijrs, and it takes place as frequently in the case of derivatives from 
Sanskrit as in the case of Dravidian roots — e.g., rakshi, to save 
(raJcsh, Sans.), is pronounced by the vulgar lakshi or latchi. In the 
middle of words r is less frequently changed into I; nevertheless where 
Tamil uses r we sometimes find I in Telugu — e.g., teri, to appear, in 
Tamil, becomes teli-yu in Telugu. This is also the equivalent of the 
Tamil teli, clear ; but I consider teri and teli, in Tamil, different forms 
of the same root. Similarly the r of Tamil sometimes becomes I in 
the middle of words in Malay alam — e.g., Tam. parisei, a shield ; Mai. 

Seeing that a tendency to change r into I still exists and operates 
in the Dravidian languages, especially in Tamil, it may be concluded 
tjiat in these ancient roots which are the common property of several 
families of language, and in which an interchange appears to exist 
between r and I, r was the original and Z the altered sound — e.g., if the 
Dravidian }:ar-u or kdr, black, is connected, as it evidently is, with the 
Sanskrit Ml-a, black, it may be concluded that the Sanskrit form of the 
root is less ancient than the Dravidian ; and this supposition seems to 
be confirmed by the existence of this root, kar, black, in many of the 
Scythian languages. Compare kri, the root of krishna, Sans, black. 

The fact of the frequency of the interchange between r and I (irre- 

\ spective of the question of priority) would lead us to suspect a remote 

/ connection between several sets of Dravidian roots which are now con- 

^ sidered to be independent of each other — e.g., compare sir, Tam. small, 

with sil, few ; and pa7' (probably another form of per), large, with pal, 

many. Another form of sir, small, is sin. 

(vi.) I changes into r. Whilst the ordinary change is that of r into 
I, the change of I into r is occasionally met with, and forms one 
of the peculiarities of Tulu. Tulu generally changes the final I of 


the other Dravidian languages into r — e.g., vil, Tam. a bow (6i7^w, 
Can.) becomes in Tulu hir. In this instance it cannot be doubted that 
I was the original termination of the word, for we find the same root 
west of the Indus in the Brahui hilla, a bow. A similar interchange 
between I and r takes place in Central Asia. The I of Manchu is r 
in Mongolian. 

(vii.) I sometimes changes into r — e.g.^ compare nil, Tam. to stand, 
with niTuttu, to cause to stand. 

In Zend and old Persian, I was unknown, and r was systematically 
used instead. In Telugu, lu, th« pluralising suflBx of nouns, is some- 
times changed into ru. This change, however, of I into r is not syste- 
matic, as in Tulu, but exceptional. In Tamil, I is euphonically changed, 
not into r, but into r before all hard consonants — e.g., palpala, various, 
becomes in written compositions parpala. This proves that a change 
of I into r is not contrary to Tamil laws of sound. 

"Z is constantly changed to r in Sin-dhi when non-initial. In- 
stances are — Sans, hdla, black, Sind. Icdrd ; Sans, sthala, place, 
Sind. tharu. In the Prakrits the reverse is the case ; in nearly all the 
dialects except the principal or Mah^r&shtri, r is changed into I. This 
statement is made among others of the Magadhi dialect. In the 
modern Magadha country, that is, in Southern Bihar, however, the 
tendency is decidedly the other way ; and throughout the Eastern 
Hindi area, from Oudh to the frontier of Bengal, the rustics constantly 
pronounce r where I is the correct sound. This I can testify from 
personal observation during many years' residence in these parts. Thus 
we ordinarily hear karid for hdld, black ; and this peculiarity may be 
noticed occasionally in the speech of the lower orders in other parts of 
the Hindi area, as, for instance, in Marwari, chdrnd, to wander, for 
chalnd. In old Hindi poems many instances may be found, as jangar 
iov jangal, forest, and the like. In fact, so great is the confusion 
between these two letters, that they may in some parts of India be said 
to be used indifferently, and the speakers appear to be unconscious that 
they are saying r instead of /. . . . . 

" The semi-vowel r is a very persistent letter, and is never ejected or 
elided. In Prakrit it is changed into I (in certain words). There is 
very little tendency to change r into I in the Indians of the present 
day. The tendency, as I stated under I, is rather the other way, 
though writers on the Prakrits affirm that in all the minor dialects r is 
changed into /. As far as it concerns the real origin and root-form of 
words, the matter is one of little moment. If it be true that the 
cerebral sounds were not originally distinguished from the dentals, then 
it must follow that the semi-vowels of the respective groups were 


identical. If there was a time when d was the same as d, there must 
also have been a time when r was not sounded differently from I; and 
just as in the present day we find that there exists confusion between 
d and d, t and ^, so we are prepared to find that there is in the minds 
of the lower classes, in many provinces, a tendency to use r and I as the 
same sounds. It is of no import, then, whether we take r as the 
original and I as the corruption, or vice versa. We have no right to 
assume that the form found in classical Sanskrit is the true and 
original one ; rather, in the present state of our knowledge, we should 
be disposed to be very sceptical upon this point." — Beames, pp. 

(viii.) I changes in the language of the Kus to df. The change of d 
into I is common enough, but the regular change of I into d is peculiar 
to this idiom — e.g., pdluy Tel. milk, is in Ku pdduj illu, house, is 
iddu. Compare also the change of the Sanskrit I into d in the North 
Indian vernaculars — e.g., tdli, the intoxicating juice of the palmyra 
palm, is in those vernaculars tddi, whence the word used by the 
English, toddy. The Telugu name of the tree is tddu^ equivalent to 
the Hindi tdd or tdr. 

V (ix.) The r and r and the I and I of the other dialects change in 
the dialect of the Tudas to rsh, rzh^ and IzsK 

\ (x.) V is generally hardened in Canarese into h in the beginning of 

a word — e.g.^ vdr, Tarn, to flourish, becomes in Canarese bdl. Where 
V is not changed into h, viz., in the middle of words, Canarese gene- 
rally softens it into w. The same softening is sometimes observed 
in the pronunciation of the lower classes of Tamilians. In Malay&lam 
the sound of v stands midway between the English v and tv. This 
soft sound is common in colloquial Tamil also. 

(xi.) The V euphonic of Tamil is sometimes changed into g in 

jl Telugu. Both y and v are used euphonically to prevent hiatus in 

/ i Tamil ; so in Telugu g is sometimes used not only instead of v, but 

/ 1 also instead of y. Compare Tarn. aTu-{v)'ar, six persons, with the 
Tel. dTu-{g)-uru, Compare also gdru, Tel. honorific singular (really 
plural) suffix, with vdru^ he (they), its more correct form. This will 
perhaps explain the occasional use of g instead of v as the sign of 
the future tense in high Tamil — e.g.y ieygen, instead of seyven, 1 
will do. 

(xii.) V appears to change into m in MalayMam. It has already been 
mentioned that b in Tamil sometimes becomes m in Malaylilam — 
e.g., Tarn, un-hdn, about to eat, is in Mai. un-mdn — but it is doubtful 
whether this might not rather be represented as a change of v into 
m — e.g.^ where Tamil has Tcdn-bdrij about to see (the future verbal 


participle), Malayalam uses optionally either Tcdnu-vdn or Tcdn-mdn; 
so where Tamil says vdrvavan (or vdrbavan), he who flourishes, 
Malayalam says either vdrvavan or vdrumavan. Here, in so far as 
Malayalam itself is concerned, h disappears, and the interchange is 
between v and m. I have noticed, also, an interchange between 
V and m in the Finno-Ugrian languages ; m in Finnish is v in 

(xiii.) r (the peculiar vocalic r of Tamil) interchanges with five 
different consonants. Sometimes it becomes n — e.g., miruguy Tam. 
to sink, is changed in Telugu to munugu; and Tcuri, Tam. a hole, 
becomes in Canarese kuni. Ordinarily r is changed in Telugu into 
d. Neither Telugu nor modern Canarese possesses the Tamil r. It 
is found, however, in old Canarese, of which it is a distinctive sign. 
In a very few instances Telugu uses n on I instead of r; sometimes 
it omits the consonant altogether, without using a substitute, but in 
a large majority of instances it converts r into d. r is ordinarily 
converted in Canarese into I, and the same change characterises the 
pronunciation of the mass of the Tamil people in the southern 
districts of the country. In Malayalam r is sometimes converted 
into.^, but more frequently into y. Thus Malayarma (Malayalam) 
is often written and pronounced Malayayma. In Tulu, r is generally 
changed into r — e.g., Tam. porudu, time, Tulu, pordu. In Canarese 
this r is assimilated — e.g., kotUi{pottu) for the Tulu pordu. Compare 
also the Telugu poddu. We thus find r interchanging with n, 
d, I, y, and r, and lastly assimilating itself to the succeeding con- 

This change of r into /, and the previous one of r into d, form the 
constituents of an important dialectic law. That law is, that the same 
consonant which is r in Tamil is generally d in Telugu, and always \ in 
modern Canarese. Thus a fowl is Izor-i in Tamil, Md-i in Telugu, and 
Tcol-i in Canarese. The numeral seven is ^r-u in Tamil, el-u in Telugu, 
and el-u in Canarese. In the compound numeral Uwdru, seven hun- 
dred, the Telugu ed-u is found to change, like the Canarese, into el-u. 
The word signifying time which is included in the adverbial nouns 
then and now (literally that time and this time), is in Tamil poru-du, 
in Telugu prodd-u or podd-u, then pud-u, and in Malayalam pdl. 
In the last instance, however, Malayalam uses I only when final. 
When followed by a vowel it is r, as ipporum, appdrum, now and 
then. It thus appears that I and d are as intimately allied as d and 
r. This is a point of some importance in the afiiliation of languages, 
for an interchange of d and I is characteristic of the Ugrian family of 
languages, as well as of the Dravidian family and the North Indian ver- 


naculars. The same word is written with t or d in Ostiak, and with 
I in Magyar and Finnish. 

A corresponding interchange is ocasionally observed even in the 
Indo-European languages — e.^., compare 3ax|u,«,a, a tear, with lachryma. 
Similar changes in several of the modern Romance dialects might also 
be adduced, but in those languages it is rarely met with, whereas it is 
a characteristic dialectic sign of several families of tongues belonging to 
the Scythian group. 

(xiv.) r (the strong rough r of Tamil) is frequently changed in Tulu 
intoy — e.g., muru, the original form of mUndru, Tam. three, becomes 
Ttvdji; aru, Tam. six, becomes dji. It changes also in Tulu into d — 
e.g.y nUdu, one hundred, instead of nUru. It changes still more fre- 
quently into the soft r. The tendency of Tulu appears, therefore, to be 
to soften down this hard sound. This change of r into j, the equi- 
valent of s, is directly the converse of the change of s into r, which is 
so common in the Indo-European tongues. 

(xv.) This strong r sometimes changes in Tamil into n — e.g., pir in 
piragu, afterwards, is identical with pin, afterwards ', sir-u, little, is 
identical with sinn-a, little. 

(xvi.) I changes in, Tulu into n — e.g., Teen, to hear, replaces the 
Tam. -Can. kel. So also Tcol, to take, to buy, Tam.-Can., becomes in 
Tulu Icon. In Telugu the latter word becomes Jcon-u, Even in Tamil 
the I of kol is euphonised into n in the gerund hon-du. 

(xvii.) I sometimes changes in Malay ilam into r, and this again 
into y. The name of the country and language is an instance of this. 
drma is for dlma (euphonised in Tamil into dnmei), from dl, to rule, 
to possess. It has already been shown that Malay ^rma becomes also 

Having now finished the consideration of the dialectic changes which 
pure Dravidian consonants undergo, it remains to point out the changes 
which take place in the Sanskrit sibilants, when words in which they 
occur are borrowed from Sanskrit by Tamil. 

1. sh. The hard, lingual sibilant of Sanskrit is unknown to 
classical Tamil. Sometimes it is changed into ^, a change which ordi- 
narily takes place at the present day in the pronunciation of the lower 
classes in the southern districts, sh is sometimes, though rarely, con- 
verted in Tamil into r. Dr Gundert supplies me with some instances 
of this in old MalayMam — e.g., kshaya. Sans, loss, is in old Mai. 
written kirayam, and the name Lalcshmanan in an old copy of the 
Ramayana is written Ilarkkanan. Here rkk stands for ksh. Some- 
times sh is assimilated to a succeeding n — e.g., the name Vishnu 
becomes sometimes, both in poetical Tamil and in Malay^lam, Vinmi. 


This name appears also in poetical Tamil as Vindu, a word wliicli 
denotes the wind as well as Vishnu. Dr Gundert identifies the vin of 
Vinnu, Vishnu, with the Tam.-Mal. word vin, sky, a true Tamil word 
connected with the root vil, to be bright. The derivation of Vishnu 
from vil and vin looks very tempting, but I fear Sanskrit lexicographers 
will refuse to yield to the temptation. Most commonly sh is converted 
in Tamil into d. This d is sometimes softened down into the dental d. 
Thus, manushya, Sans, man, becomes in classical Tamil mdnida-n; 
and this by a further change becomes manida-n. A very old example 
of the change of the Sanskrit sh into rf, in Tamil, can be adduced. 
The month Ishddha^ Sans. July- August, has become in Tamil Adi; 
and this change dates probably from the earliest period of the cultiva- 
tion of the Tamil language. In Taisha, January-February, the hard 
sh, instead of being changed, has been discarded altogether : the Tamil 
name of this month, as far back as the literature reaches, has been 

2. s. The hissing sibilant of Sanskrit, answering to our English 5, 
is ordinarily in Tamil converted into d, the sonant of i, which is pro- 
nounced as th in that — e.^., mdsam, Sans, a month, becomes in classi- 
cal Tamil mddam {mdtham) ; and manas, the mind, becomes manad-u 
(manath-u). In this conversion of the Sanskrit s into d (or th) in 
Tamil, there is a change from the sibilant to the dental, which is 
exactly the reverse of that change from the dental to the semi-sibilant 
which has already been described. 

*' If asked to account for the connection between two sounds at first 
sight so widely opposed, I would refer to similar conditions in other 
languages, as, for instance, the substitution of r for ff in Attic Greek, as 
fiiXitra^ ddXaTToc, for ^eX/tftfa, ddXadffu. Among modern languages, the 
example of the Spanish may also be adduced, where c before the 
palatal vowels e and ^ is pronounced as th. From the same cause 
arises that defect in speaking called a lisp, which renders some English- 
men unable to pronounce sibilants or palatals otherwise than as half- 
obscure Unguals. But whereas in England this is only an individual 
and personal peculiarity, in Spanish it becomes a law. The people of 
Madrid all lisp, not only in pronouncing c and 2, but also in s. So 
also, to go to a different age and family of languages, the Chaldeans 
and Syrians lisp the Semitic sh, as in Heb. shdlosh, Chal. telath, Syriac 
tloth, three." — Beames, p. 216. Mr Beames goes on to explain physio- 
logically the origin of this tendency to change s into t. 

When s happens to be the first consonant of a Sanskrit derivative, it is 
sometimes omitted in Tamil altogether — e.g., sandhyd, evening, becomes 
audi; sthdnam, a place, becomes tdnam. More commonly in modem 


Tamil an effort is made to pronounce this s with the help of the vowel 
i, which is prefixed to it in order to assist enunciation — e.g., istiri 
{str% Sans.), a woman, i, the soft sibilant of Sanskrit, sometimes 
passes through similar changes. Generally it is represented by the 
corresponding s or ch of the Dravidian languages, but sometimes it is 
converted, like the harder s, into t, as in the very ancient derivative 
tiru, sacred, for Sri. Sometimes it is discarded altogether, especially 
when compounded with r. Thus, Srdvana, the month of August- 
September, is in Tamil Avani. The Malay^lam Onam, the ceremony of 
the month Srdvana, carries this change further still. 

The Sanskrit sibilant never changes into r in Tamil. This change, 
though very common in languages of the Indo-European family, rarely, 
if ever, appears in the Dravidian. It may be conjectured, but cannot 
be proved to have taken place. The Tamil- Canarese root ir, to be, 
originally to sit (in Brahui ar\ may be allied to the Indo-European 
substantive verb, best represented by the Sanskrit as.* The Tamil 
plural of rational beings ar, resembles the Sanskrit epicene nominative 
plural as; and perhaps, though more doubtfully still, the Tamil iru, 
iron, euphonised into iru-mbu, may be compared with the Sanskrit 
ayas, and the English word iro7i (which is allied to ayas, through the 
change of s into r), though I prefer connecting this word with the Tamil 
root i?*, dark. 

Euphonic Peemutation of Consonants. — The permutation of 
consonants for euphonic reasons, though it throws less light on the 
laws of sound than dialectic interchange, includes a few points of con- 
siderable interest. Dravidian grammarians have bestowed more atten- 
tion and care on euphonic permutation than on any other subject; 
and the permutations which the grammar of Tamil requires or 
allows are at least twice as numerous, and more than twice as per- 
plexing to beginners, as those of Sanskrit. On examining the permu- 
tations of consonants prescribed in the classical grammars of Tamil, 
Telugu, and Canarese — the three principal languages of this family 
— it is evident that a considerable proportion of them are founded 
upon Sanskrit precedents. Another class in which Sanskrit rules 
of euphony have been, not imitated, but emulated and surpassed, may 
be regarded rather as prosodial than as grammatical changes. But 

• This is affirmed, but I think too positively, by Mr Gover {Comhill Magazine 
for November 1871, " Dravidian Folk-Songs"). " Tamil and Telugu {qu. Cana- 
rese ?) possess at the present day the complete verb which has left such traces in 
our language as are, art, and were." 


after these have been eliminated, a certain number of euphonic per- 
mutations remain, which are altogether peculiar to these languages, 
and which proceed from, and help to illustrate, their laws of sound. 
It will suffice to notice a few of those permutations ; for the subject is 
too wide, and at the same time not of sufficient importance, to allow us 
to enter here on a minute investigation of it. 

1. In dvandva compounds, i.e., in nouns which are united together, 
not by copulative conjunctions, but by a common sign of plurality (in 
the use of which common sign the Dravidian languages resemble, and 
probably imitate, the Sanskrit), if the second member of the compound 
commences with the first or surd consonant of any of the five vargas 
(viz., h, ch, or s, t, t, p), the surd must be changed into the correspond- 
ing sonant or soft letter. In those Dravidian languages which have 
adhered to the alphabetical system of Sanskrit, as Telugu and Cana- 
rese, this conversion of the surd into the sonant is carried into 
effect and expressed by the employment of a different character. In 
Tamil, in which the same character is used to represent both surds and 
sonants, a different character is not employed, but the softening of the 
first consonant of the second word is always apparent in the pronunci- 
ation. This peculiar rule evidently proceeds from the Dravidian law 
that the same consonant which is a surd at the beginning of a word 
should be regarded as a sonant in the middle ; for the first consonant 
of the second word, being placed in the middle of a compound, has 
become a medial by position. The existence of this rule in Telugu and 
Canarese, notwithstanding the Sanskrit influences to which they have 
been subjected, proves that the law of- convertibility of surds and 
sonants is not confined to Tamil. 

All the Dravidian dialects agree in softening the initial surd of the 
second member of dvandva compounds ; but with respect to com- 
pounds in which the words stand to one another in a case-relation — e.g.^ 
substantives of which the first is used adjectivally or to qualify the 
second, or an infinitive and its governing verb — Telugu pursues a 
different course from Tamil. The rule of Telugu is, that when words 
belong to the druta class, including all infinitives, are followed by 
any word commencing with a surd consonant, such consonant is to 
be converted (as in dvandva compounds) into its soft or sonant equiva- 
lent. The rule of Telugu on this point resembles that of the Lappish, 
and still more the rule of Welsh; and it has been observed that 
Welsh, possibly through the pre-historic influence of Finnish, is the 
most Scythic of all the Indo-European languages. 

It is curious that in combinations of words which are similar to 
those referred to above, emd uniformly after infinitives in a, Tamil, 


instead of softening, doubles and hardens the initial surd-sonant of the 
succeeding word. Tamil also invariably doubles, and consequently 
hardens, the initial surd of the second member of tat-purusha com- 
pounds, I.e., compounds in which the words stand in a case-relation to 
each other. In such combinations, Canarese, though it is less care- 
ful of euphony than either Tamil or Telugu, requires that the initial 
surd of the second member of the compound should be softened : 
it requires, for instance, that huli togahi, a tiger's skin, shall be 
written and pronounced huli dogalu. Tamil, on the contrary, requires 
the initial surd in all such cases to be hardened and doubled — e g.y 
the same compound in Tamil, viz., puli tol, a tiger's skin, must be 
written and pronounced, not puli dol^ but pnli-(t)t6l. This doubling 
and hardening of the initial is evidently meant to symbolise the transi- 
tion of the signification of the first word to the second ; and it will 
be seen that this expedient has been very frequently resorted to by 

When the first word is used not as a noun or adjective, but as a verb 
or relative participle, the initial surd of the second word becomes a 
sonant in Tamil also, as in Telugu — e.g., compare kdy komhu, a wither- 
ing branch, with hdy-{k)hombu, a branch with fruit. 

2. The Tamil system of assimilating, or euphonically changing, 
concurrent consonants, is in many particulars almost identical with 
that of Sanskrit, and has probably been arranged in imitation of it. 
Nevertheless there are some exceptions which may be regarded as dis- 
tinctively Dravidian, and which are founded upon Dravidian laws of 
sound — e.g., the mutation of / into n in various unexpected combina- 
tions. Through this tendency to nasalisation, pol-da, like, becomes 
pbn-da, or rather ptn-dra; kol-da, taken, bought, becomes Icon-da; 
and the latter euphonic mutation has found its way in Telugu into the 
root itself, which is hon-u, to buy, instead of the older Tamil hoi, 
Tulu also is Icon. It does not appear to have been noticed even by 
Tamil grammarians, that Z, in a few instances, has been converted into 
n before h. Thus ndn-hu, pronounced ndn-gu, four, is derived from 
ndl-huy an older form of the word ; and Panguni, the Tamil name of 
the month of March-April, has been altered from the Sanskrit Phal- 
guna. In Telugu a corresponding tendency appears in the change of I 
into n before t — e.g., ilti, of a house, is softened into inti. In all these 
cases I is undoubtedly the original ; and these proofs of the priority of 
lio n corroborate the suspicion that the Latin alius is older than its 
Sanskrit equivalent anyas. 

A rule of the Tuda, which seems to arise from considerations of 
euphony, may here be noticed, th and sh seem to be euphonically 


inserted between I and h and r and h — e.g., nilthhen, I stand, and 

ershken, I am, where we should have expected nilken and erken. 

Euphonic Nunnation or Nasalisation. — Much use is made in 
the Dravidian languages, especially in Tamil and Telugu, of the nasals 
w, n, n, n, and m (to which some add n or m, the half anusvdra of 
the Telugu), for the purpose of euphonising the harder consonants of 
each varga. All the nasals referred to, with the exception of the half 
anusvdra, which is an inorganic sound, are regarded by native gram- 
marians as modifications of the sound of m; the nature of each modifi- 
cation being determined by the manner in which m is affected by 
succeeding consonants. In Tamil, as in Sanskrit, all those modifica- 
tions are expressed by the nasal consonants which constitute the final 
characters of each of the five vargas. In Telugu and Canarese one and 
the same character, which is called anusvdra, but which possesses a 
greater range of power than the anusvdra of Sanskrit, is used to 
represent the whole of the nasal modifications referred to. The pro- 
nunciation of this character, however, varies so as to accord with the 
succeeding consonant, as in Tamil. 

The nunnation, or nasalisation, of the Dravidian languages is of three 

1. The first kind of nunnation is used to a greater extent in Tamil 
than in any other dialect. It consists in the insertion of a nasal before 
the initial consonant of the formative suffix of many nouns and verbs. 
The formative syllable or sufiix, the nature of which will be explained 
more particularly in the succeeding section, is added to the crude root 
of the verb or noun, and constitutes the inflexional theme, to which 
the signs of inflexion are annexed. The nasalised formative is used in 
Tamil in connection with the intransitive form of the verb and the 
isolated form of the noun. When the verb becomes transitive, and 
when the noun becomes adjectival, or is placed in a case-relation to 
some other noun, the nasal disappears, and the consonant to which it 
was prefixed — the initial consonant of the formative — is hardened and 
doubled. The nasal is modified in accordance with the nature of the 
initial consonant of the formative suffix : it becomes n before h or 
g ; n before 5, ch, or j ; n before t ov d ; n before t or d; and m 
before p or h. Telugu uses the anusvdra to express all these varieties 
of sound ; and the half anusvdra in certain other cases. 

(i.) Of the use of the first nasal n, to emphasise and euphonise the 
formative suffix k-u or g-u, Tamil affords innumerable examples. 
One verb and noun will suffice — e.g., ada-ngu, to refrain oneself, to 
keep in, is formed from the root ada, by the addition of the formative, 


intransitive suffix g2i, which is euphonised into ngu; Icd-iigei, heat, is 
from hd or haij, to burn (in Telugu M-gu) ; with the addition of the 
suffix gei, euphonised into ngei. The final g is nasalised, not only in 
the case of the addition of the formative, but sometimes also when it is 
radical — e.g., from pag-u^ to divide, we have pang-u, a portion. The 
tendency in Tamil to the nasalisation of this consonant may be illus- 
trated by its treatment of a Sanskrit word. Sans, sunaha (from 
suna), a dog, has become in Tamil (with the masculine termination an) 
kmagan, then iunat'igan, then by a further change {u being pronounced 
like before a consonant followed by a) sdnangi. 

The insertion of the nasal before k or g probably accounts for the 
shape of the Tamil adverbs, or rather nouns of place, angii, there, ingu^ 
here, engu, where. The demonstrative and interrogative bases a, i, and 
e are followed by Jcu or gu, the Tamil dative case sign, or rather sign 
of direction, whence agu {k becoming g before a vowel) is nasalised into 
aiigu. Dr Gundert prefers to derive these nouns of place from the 
(supposititious) demonstrative nouns am and im, and the interrogative 
noun em, which last still survives in Tamil in the shape of en ; e.g., en, 
en, what, why j and takes in Telugu the shape of emi. By the addition 
of the directive hu to these nouns, am, &c., they would naturally be- 
come angu, &c. I recognise distinct traces of these supposititious de- 
monstrative nouns am or an and im or in in the formatives of nouns, in 
the inflexional increments, and in the case signs, as will be seen under 
each of those heads ; probably also they are the bases of the poetical 
Tamil equivalents of angu, &c., viz., ambar, there, imbar, here, emhar, 
where. Still I feel doubtful whether in angu, &c., we are to recognise 
those demonstrative nouns. If we compare ydngu, Tam. where, a 
poetical form of eiigu, with ydndu, another noun of place and time, 
which appears to me to be derived from yd, one of the interrogative 
bases, and du, the formative, nasalised into ndu, as will be seen under 
the next head, it will appear probable that ydngu has been formed in 
this manner ; and if ydngu, then also angu, mgu, poetical, and angu, 
ingu, and eiigu, the common forms. Besides, if we compare these 
Tamil adverbial forms with the Gond adverbs aga, there, iga, here, 
inga, now, hike, hither, hoke, thither; with the Canarese dga, dgalu, 
then, iga, now, ydvdga, when, hdge, in that manner, Mge, in this man- 
ner, alternating with their nasalised forms hdnge and Miige; and with 
the Coorg ahka, then, ikka, now, ekka, when — (remembering that de- 
monstrative nouns of time and place are in these languages more or 
less equivalent — e.g., in Tamil, dndu means either there or then) — we 
shall conclude, I think, that the primitive form of the Tamil adverbial 
noun angu, there, with its companions, was agu, and that angu is 


only an instance of tlie fondness of the Tamil for nasalisation. (See 
*' Demonstratives, their use as Adverbs.") 

(ii.) Instances of the euphonic use of the nasal of the second varga, 
7\ are more common in Telugu than in Tamil. Thus, panck-u, Tel. to 
divide, is derived from pag-u, Tam. (changed into pach-u, and then 
nasalised into panch-u), and is analogous to the Tamil noun pang-u, a 
portion, derived from the same verbal root, retti-nchu, Tel. to double, 
is an example of the use of the euphonic nasal by verbs of the transi- 
tive class — a class in which that nasal is not used by any other dialect 
but Telugu. 

(iii.) The cerebrals t and d are not used as formative suffixes of 
verbs, though some verbal roots end in those consonants ; but they are 
not unfrequently used as formatives of neuter nouns — e.g.^ ira-d-u, the 
probable original of the Tamil numeral two, corresponding to the 
Canarese era-du, has been euphonised to ira-nd-u. The Tamil adver- 
bial nouns d-nd-u, there, t-nd-u, here, yd-nd-u, where, are derived from 
d and t, the demonstrative bases, and yd, the interrogative base, with ' 
the addition of the usual neuter formative d-u, euphonised to ndu. 
Ydndu, where, when, is used also to signify a year ; another form is 
ydndei. In common Tamil the word for year is dndu, but ydndu is 
the form I have invariably found in inscriptions, dndu, a year, the 
more recent word (or rather the obsolete form of this word dndei), is 
the origin of the word dttei, annual — e.g., dttei-{]c)-Tcarmam, Tam. and 
Mai. an annual ceremony. The omission of the nasal 71 from the word 
dttei shows that the nasal is a portion, not of the root, but of the 
formative, and that it is merely euphonic in origin. The adjectival 
shape of a noun, or that which appears in the inflexion, may be re- 
garded, as a general rule, as its oldest shape. Compare irattei, Tam. 
double, from irandu, two, with the Canarese eradu, two. We see, 
therefore, that the original shape of the noun of place or time under 
consideration was not dndu, but ddu. What seems to place this 
beyond doubt is the fact that in Telugu the d of these words is not 
nasalised in ordinary writing, and only slightly nasalised in pronuncia- 
tion. They are dda, ida, eda, there, here, where ; and the last word, 
eda, changed to edu, is used like the corresponding Tamil ydndu, to 
signify a year. [It will be shown, under the head of the " Interrogative 
Pronouns," that the Tamil yd takes also the weaker form of e, and in 
Telugu e.] We see the same primitive, unnasalised form of these de- 
monstrative nouns in the Tulu ade, thither, ide, hither, ode, whither. 
In Telugu a large number of masculine formatives in d-u receive in 
pronunciation the obscure^ nasal n — e.g., for vddu-lu or vdd-lu, they, 
vdhd-lu is commonly used. On comparing the Tamil harandi, a 


spoon, with garite, the Telugu form of the same word, we find 
that sometimes the nasal is used by one dialect and rejected by 

(iv.) We see an example of the euphonic use of w, the nasal of the 
dental varga, in the intransitive verb tiru-nd-u, Tarn, to become correct, 
from iirUf the radical base, and c?w, the formative, euphonised into 
ndu : the transitive form of the same verb is tiru-ttu, to correct. An 
example of the nasalisation of a noun of this class is found in maru- 
ndu, Tam. a medicinal drug, medicine, which is derived from maru, 
fragrant, with the addition of the formative du, euphonised to ndu, comp. 
Tulu and ancient Canarese, mardu, modern Canarese, maddu. We find, 
I think, the same euphonic nasalisation in the Tamil demonstrative 
adjectives anda, that, mda, this, enda, which. These appear to have 
been formed from the neuter demonstrative pronouns ad-u, id-u, and 
the interrogative e-du, by the insertion of the euphonic nasal (as was 
probably done also in the case of angu, &c., and dnda, &c.), with the 
addition of a, the sign of the relative participle, so frequently used in 
the formation of adjectives (see " Adjectives "). ad-u would thus 
become and-a by an easy process. Dr Gundert derives these adjec- 
tives from am, im, &c., the demonstrative nouns referred to in the 
previous paragraph, and da, the formative of relative participles. This 
relative formative, however, is not da, but only a; and it would be 
necessary to put Dr Gundert's case thus. The demonstrative base am 
was developed into andu, by the addition of du, the neuter formative ; 
and this and-u, by the addition of the relative participle sign a, became 
and-a. A confirmation of this view might be found in the Telugu 
andu, there, which is also the sign of the locative case, and indu, here, 
as compared with the Canarese inda (originally, as we know, im), the 
sign of the instrumental, but a locative case sign originally. This view 
is very plausible, but on the whole I prefer adhering to the view I 
have already taken, which accords with a still larger number of parallel 
instances of Tamil nasalisation. The Tulu demonstrative pronoun indu 
or undu, it (proximate), corroborates this view. It is simply a nasalised 
form of the Tam. and Can. idu (prox.), udu (intermediate). The 
Tamil andru, indru, &c., that day, this day, &c. (Can. andu, indu), 
may also be euphonisations of adu and idu, that and this ; though this 
euphoiiisation would be more in accordance with rule if they were 
formed from demonstrative nouns in al and il, the existence of which 
we may surmise, but of which T can discover no distinct proof. Com- 
pare, however, the Canarese alii, illi, elli, there, here, where, which 
may either be derived from supposed demonstrative nouns, al, il, el, or 
from the demonstrative bases of those nouns, a, i, e, prefixed to li, an 


altered form of il, a house, which is used in Tamil, as alii is in Canar- 
ese, as a locative case sign. The Tamil ittrei^ to-day, a secondary 
form of indru, to-day (also the corresponding attrei, that day, and 
ettreij what day), would seem to indicate the origin of indra, &c., from 
a root il or z'r, from which ittrei^ &c., would naturally proceed like 
ottreij single, from or or or. Compare indru. Tarn, there is not, and 
andru, it is not, which are regularly derived from the negative bases 
il and al. 

(v.) Many examples of the euphonic insertion of m before the suffix 
in h might be adduced, but the following will suffice : tiru-mbu, to 
turn (intransitively), of which the root is unquestionably tiru^ as 
appears from the corresponding Telugu tiru-gu and Canarese tiru-vu. 
The Tamil form of the transitive of the same verb is tiru-pp-u, to turn. 
An example of a similar insertion of euphonic m before the forma- 
tive 6 of a noun is seen in eVu-mhu, Tarn, an ant, when compared with 
the equivalent Canarese word iru-ve. The formatives nd-u and mhu 
are extremely common terminations of Tamil nouns ; and with few, if 
any exceptions, wherever those terminations appear, they will be found 
on examination to be euphonised suffixes to the root. 

2. The second use to which the euphonic nasal is put is altogether 
peculiar to Tamil. It consists in the insertion of an euphonic n 
between the verbal theme and the d, which constitutes the sign of the 
preterite of a very large number of Tamil verbs. The same d ordi- 
narily forms the preterite in ancient Canarese, and is not unknown 
to Telugu ', but in those languages the nasal n is not prefixed to it. 
The following are examples of this nasalisation of the sign of the pre- 
terite in Tamil : vdr-nd-en (for vdr-d-en), I flourished, from the root 
vdr; in Canarese, bdl : compare old Canarese preterite, hdl-d-en. So 
also viru-nd-u (for viru-d-u), having fallen, from the root viru or vir ; 
High Tamil, vir-d-u; Canarese equivalent, hidd-u. The corresponding 
Malayalam vin-u, is >an example of the absorption of the dental in the 
nasal. In colloquial, or vulgar, Tamil this euphonic insertion of n is 
.carried further than grammatical Tamil allows. Thus, sey-d-a, done, 
and pey-d-ay rained, are vulgarly pronounced sey-nj-a and pey-nj-a. 

3. A third use of the euphonic nasal is the insertion, in Tamil, of 
n ov n before the final d or d oi some verbal roots. The same rule 
sometimes applies to roots and forms that terminate in the rough r, 
or even in the ordinary semi-vowel r. Thus, kar-Uj Can. a calf, is 
TcanT-u in Tamil (pronounced kandr-u) ; and miXr-Uy Can. three, is in 
Tamil mUnv-u (pronounced mUndr-u). In the first and second classes 
of instances in which nunnation is used for purposes of euphony, the 
Dravidian languages putsue a course of their own, which is different 


from the usages of the Scythian, as well as of the Syro- Arabian and 
Indo-European families of languages. In the Syro- Arabian languages, 
especially in Talmudic Hebrew, euphonic n is always a final, and is 
often emphatic as well as euphonic. In Turkish, n is used between 
the bases of words and their inflexions in a manner similar to its 
use in Sanskrit. In the North- Indian vernaculars an obscure nasal, 
w, is often used as a final. But none of these usages perfectly 
corresponds to the Dravidian nasalisation referred to under the first 
and second heads. In the third class of instances the Dravidian 
usage bears a close resemblance to the Indo-European. In the 
seventh class of Sanskrit verbal roots a nasal is inserted in the 
special tenses, so as to coalesce with a final dental — e.g., nid, to revile, 
becomes nindati, he reviles. Compare also the root uda, water, with 
its derivative root und, to be wet. A similar nasalisation is found both 
in Latin and Greek. In Latin we find the unaltered root in the pre- 
terite, and a nasalised form in the present — e.g., compare scidi with 
scindo, cuhui with cumho, tetigi with tango, fregi with frango. Com- 
pare also the Latin centum with the Greek e-xaroi/. In Greek, compare 
the roots iLa& and "ka.^ with the nasalised forms of those roots found 
in the present tense — e.g., /U-av^-avw, to learn, and Xa^^-avw, to take. 
The principle of euphonic nasalisation contained in these Sanskrit, 
Greek, and Latin examples, though not perfectly identical with the 
Dravidian usage, corresponds to it in a remarkable degree. The difi"er- 
ence consists in this, that in the Indo-European languages the insertion 
of a nasal appears to be purely euphonic, whereas in Tamil it gener- 
ally contributes to grammatical expression. The consonant to which 
n is prefixed by neuter verbs is not only deprived of the n, but also 
hardened and doubled, by transitives. 

Prevention of Hiatus. — An examination of the means employed 
in the Dravidian languages to prevent hiatus between concurrent 
vowels, will bring to light some analogies with the Indo-European 
languages, especially with Greek. 

In Sanskrit, and all other languages in which negation is effected by 
the use of " alpha privative," when this a is followed by a vowel, n is 
added to it to prevent hiatus, and a becomes an, in, or un. In the 
Latin and Germanic languages this n, which was used at first euphoni- 
cally, has become an inseparable part of the privative particles in or un. 
In the greater number of tlie Indo-European languages this is almost 
the only conjuncture of vowels in which hiatus is prevented by the 
insertion of an euphonic n. In Sanskrit and Pali, n is also used for the 
purpose of preventing hiatus between the final base-vowels of nouns or 


pronouns and their case terminations, in order that the vowels of the 
base may escape elision or corruption, and be preserved pure. In 
some instances (a probably older) m is used for this purpose instead 
of n. This usage is unknown in the cognate languages, with the excep- 
tion of the use of n between the vowel of the base and the termina- 
tion of the genitive plural in Zend and old high German. It is in 
Greek that the use of n, to prevent hiatus, has been most fully de- 
veloped; for whilst in Sanskrit contiguous vowels are combined' or 
changed, so that hiatus is unknown, in Greek, in which vowels are 
more persistent, n is used to prevent hiatus between contiguous vowels, 
and that not only when they belong to the same word, but also, and 
still more, when they belong to different words. 

On turning our attention to the Dravidian languages, we may chance 
at first sight to observe nothing which resembles the system now 
mentioned. In Tamil and Canarese, and generally in the Dra- 
vidian languages, hiatus between contiguous vowels is prevented by 
the use of v or y. Vowels are rarely combined or changed in the 
Dravidian languages, as in Sanskrit, except in the case of compounds 
which have been borrowed directly from Sanskrit itself ; nor are final 
vowels elided in these languages before words commencing with a 
vowel, with the exception of some short finals, which are considered as 
mere vocalisations. In Telugu and Canarese a few other unimportant 
vowels are occasionally elided. Ordinarily, however, for the sake of 
ease of pronunciation, and in order to the retention of the agglutinative 
structure which is natural to these languages, all vowels are preserved 
pure and pronounced separately ; but as hiatus is dreaded with pecu- 
liar intensity, the awkwardness of concurrent vowels is avoided by the 
interposition of 2; or y between the final vowel of one word and the 
initial vowel of the succeeding one. The rule of Tamil, which in 
most particulars is the rule of Canarese also, is that v is used after 
the vowels a, u, and 0, with their long vowels, and au, and that y is 
used after i, e, with their long vowels, and ei. Thus, in Tamil, vara 
illei, not come, is written and pronounced vara-iyyUlei, and vari-alla 
(it is) not the way, becomes vari-{y)-alla. 

This use of v in one conjunction of vowels, and of y in another, is 
doubtless a result of the progressive refinement of the language. 
Originally, we may conclude that one consonant alone was used for 
this purpose, and this may possibly have been v changing into m, n, 
and y. In Malayalam, as Dr Gundert observes, y has gradually 
encroached on the domain , of v, pure a having become rare. Words 
like the Tamil avan (a + (v) + n), he, remote ; ivan (i + {v) + n), he, * 
proximate, changing in Telugu into vdndu and vindu, prove suflBciently 


the great antiquity of v. They appear to me to prove that even in 
Telugu y is more recent than v. Possibly, also, the n of the Telugu is 
more recent than m. The only thing, however, perfectly certain, is 
that m, n, v, and y interchange in Telugu, Tulu, and Canarese, and 
n, V, and ^ in Tamil. Euphonic insertions between contiguous vowels 
are observed in the common conversation of Dravidians, as well as in 
written compositions ; and they are found even in the barbarous 
dialects — e.^., in the Ku, which was reduced to writing only a few 
years ago, v may optionally be used for euphony, as in Tamil. Thus, 
in Ku, one may say either ddlu, she, or d{v)dlu. This insertion of v 
or y takes place, not only when a word terminating with a vowel is 
followed by a word beginning with another vowel, but also (as in 
Sanskrit) between the final vowels of substantives and the initial 
vowels of their case terminations — e.g., puli-{y)-il, in the tamarind, 
pild-{y)-il, in the jack. The use of alpha privative to produce negation 
being unknown to the Dravidian languages, there is nothing in any of 
them which corresponds to the use of an, in, or un privative, instead 
of a, in the Indo-European languages, before words beginning with a 

The only analogy which may at first sight have appeared to exist 
between the Dravidian usage and the Greek, in respect of the preven- 
tion of hiatus, consists in the use oivovy by the Dravidian languages 
as an euphonic copula. When we enter more closely on the examina- 
tion of the means by which hiatus is prevented, a real and remark- 
able analogy comes to light ; for in many instances where Tamil uses 
Vj Telugu and Tulu, like Greek, use n. By one of the two classes 
into which all words are arranged in Telugu for euphonic purposes, 
y is used to prevent hiatus when the succeeding word begins with 
a vowel ; by the other, a very numerous class, n is used, precisely 
as in Greek. Thus, instead of tinnagd egenu, it went slowly, Telugu 
requires us to say tinnagd-in)-egenu. When n is used in Telugu 
to prevent hiatus, it is called druta, and woxds which admit of this 
euphonic appendage are called druta praTcrits, words of the druta class. 
Druta means fleeting, and the druta n may be interpreted as the n 
which often disappears. The other class of words consists of those 
which use y instead of n, or prevent elision in the Sanskrit manner by 
sandhi or combination. Such words are called the hala class, and the 
rationale of their preferring y to n was first pointed out by Mr Brown. 
Whenever n (or its equivalent, ni or nu) could have a meaning of its 
own — e.g., wherever it could be supposed to represent the copulative 
conjunction, or the case sign of the accusative or the locative, there its 
use is inadmissible, and either y or sandhi must be used instead. 


Hence, there is no difference in principle between n and y, for the 
latter is used in certain cases instead of the former, merely for the 
purpose of preventing misapprehension ; and it can scarcely be doubted 
that both letters were originally identical in origin and in use, like v 
and y in Tamil. 

An euphonic peculiarity of Telugu may here be noticed, ni or 
nu, the equivalents of n, are used euphonically between the final vowel 
of any word belonging to the druta class {the class which uses n to 
prevent hiatus), and the hard, surd initial consonant of the succeeding 
word — which initial surd is at the same time converted into its corre- 
sponding sonant. They may also be optionally used before any initial 
consonant, provided always that the word terminating in a vowel to 
which they are aflBxed, belongs to the class referred to. It is deserving 
of notice, that in this conjunction ni or nu may be changed into that 
form of m (the Telugu amisvdra) which coalesces with the succeeding 
consonant. Occasionally, m is used in Telugu to prevent hiatus between 
two vowels where we should have expected to find n, or, in Tamil, v. 

m may perhaps be regarded as the original form of the euphonic 
copula of Telugu, and n and y as a softening of the same. A dis- 
tinct trace of the use, apparently a very ancient use, of m to prevent 
hiatus, instead of n or v, may be noticed in classical Canarese, in the 
accusative singular of certain nouns — e.g., instead of guru-v-am, the 
accusative of gur^i, a teacher, guru-m-am may be used. On the other 
hand, in Tulu, an older v seems to have changed into wi, and even into 
mh. Thus, mol, Tulu, she (prox,), stands for imal, and that for ival: 
mer, they (prox.), for imar, and that for ivar, whilst the sing. masc. of 
the same is irnbe, for ivan. Compare the Tulu remote sing, masc, 
dye, he. The evidence of all the other dialects in favour of v being 
originally the euphonic vowel of the pronouns is so strong that the Tulu 
m must, I think, be regarded as a corruption. In colloquial Tamil m 
is used in some instances instead of v, where v alone is used, not only 
by the classics, but by scrupulously correct writers up to the present 
day — e.g., ennamo, whatever it may be, instead of the more correct 
ennavoy from enna, what, and 6, the particle expressing doubt. 

It may be noticed here, that where n is used in later Sanskrit 
to prevent hiatus between base vowels and case terminations, y is often 
used instead in the Sanskrit of the Vedas. I regard m as the original 
form of the euphonic copula of the Telugu, and n and y as a soften- 
ing of the same. 

It has been mentioned that v and y are the letters which are used in 
Tamil for preventing hiatus, where n and ?/ are used by Telugu. 
On examining more closely the forms and inflexions of classical 


Tamil, we shall find reason for advancing a step farther. In Tamil, 
also, n is used instead of v in a <;onsiderable number of instances, 
especially in the pronominal terminations of verbs in the classical 
dialect. Thus, the neuter plural demonstrative being avei (for a-{y)-a 
from A-a), we should expect to find the same a-{v)-ei, or the older 
a-(v)-a, in the third person plural neuter of verbs ; but we find a-(n)-a 
instead — i.e., we find the hiatus of a-a filled up with n instead of v — 
e.g.y iruk]cindra{n)a, they are (neuter), instead of irukkindra{v)a. So 
also, whilst in the separate demonstratives avan, he, and avar, they 
(epicene), the hiatus is filled up with v — e.g., (a-{v)-an, a-(v)-ar), in 
the pronominal terminations of verbs in the classical dialect we find 
a-{n)-an often used instead of a-{y)-an, and a'(n)-a7' instead of a-{v)-ar 
— e.g., irunda[n)an, he was, instead of irunda{v)an, or its ordinary 
contraction irunddn. We sometimes also find the same n in the neuter 
plural of appellative nouns and verbs in the classical dialect — e.g., 
porula{ii)a, things that are real, realities, instead of porula(v)a, or 
simply porula. varu-{n)-a — varuhavei, things that will come. "We 
find the same use of n to prevent hiatus in the preterites and relative 
past participles of a large number of Tamil verbs — e.g., hdtti{n)en, I 
showed ; Mtti{n)a, which showed ; in which forms the n which comes 
between the preterite participle Tcdtti and the terminations en and a, is 
clearly used (as v in ordinary cases) to prevent hiatus. The euphonic 
character of this n (respecting which see the Section on " Verbs, Preterite 
Tense ") is confirmed by the circumstance that n optionally changes in 
classical Tamil into y — e.g., we may say Tcdtti{y)a, that showed, 
instead of Mtti{n)a. Another instance of the use of n in Tamil for 
the prevention of hiatus appears to be furnished by the numerals. 
The compound numerals between ten and twenty are formed by the 
combination of the word for ten with each numeral in rotation. The 
Tamil word for ten is pattu, but padu is used in the numerals above 
twenty, and padi, identical with the Telugu word for ten, is used in 
the numerals from eleven to eighteen inclusive. Between this padi 
and the units which follow, each of which, with the exception of 
mUndru, three, and ndlu, four, commences with a vowel, n is inserted 
for the prevention of hiatus where the modern Tamil would have used 
V. The euphonic character of this n appears to be established on 
comparing the Tamil and Canarese numerals with those of the Telugu, 
in most of which h is used instead of n — e.g., 

Telugu. Tamil and Canarese. 

fifteen padi-{h)-enu /ja(ii-(72)-eMi(/?^ (Can. eidu) 

sixteen 'padi-\li)-drii padi-{ri)-dTu 

seventeen padi-{h)-edu padi-{n)-eru (Can. elu) 


In the Tamil compound numeral, padi-{n)-miXndru, thirteen, we find 
the same n used as in the previous examples, though there is no 
hiatus to be prevented. Telugu has here pada-mUdu, the Canarese 
hadi-muru; and as Canarese uses n, like Tamil, in all the other 
compound numbers between eleven and eighteen inclusive, and dis- 
penses with it here, I think it may be concluded that in the Tamil 
padi(n)mundriCj the n has crept in through the influence of the numerals 
on each side of it, and in accordance with the euphonic tendencies of 
the language in general. Dr Gundert thinks padin hardly an example 
of n used for the prevention of hiatus. He prefers to regard the in of 
these numerals as the in of the oblique case, and considers padin- 
miLndra (in Malay alam, 'padim-munu) as decisive to this effect. He 
adduces also omhadin-dyiram (Tam. onhadin), nine thousand, and 
enhadin Jcodi (also capable of being used in Tamil), eighty crores. (^n 
the other hand, it may be replied that the h used by Telugu cannot 
be regarded as a sign of the oblique case, and that if it be admitted 
that it is used simply for the prevention of hiatus, this fact should be 
allowed to throw light on the use of n in the same words in the other 
languages. It would be quite natural, however, that m, the inflexional 
increment of the Tam.-Mal. oblique case, should be used instead of the 
merely euphonic w, where it appeared to fit in suitably. Identity of 
sound would recommend it for occasional use. In the Coorg dialect n 
appears in all the compounds after padu, the form of pattu, ten, used 
in construction — e.g., padunanje, fifteen, padundru, sixteen, padunelu, 
seventeen. Notwithstanding this, the inflexional increment of the 
Coorg does not contain ??-, but is either da or ra. Similarly in Tulu, 
in which the possessive increment is a, ta, or da, and the locative cT or 
t\ du or tUy n is inserted between pad\ ten, and the words for four, &c., 
in the compound numerals from fourteen to nineteen inclusive — e.g., 
pad\7i)ormba, nineteen. The n thus inserted must surely be euphonic. 

We have an indubitable instance of the use of n, even in common 
Tamil, to prevent hiatus, in appellative nouns ending in ei — e.g., when 
an appellative noun is formed from ilei, youth, or young, by annexing 
an, the sign of the masc. sing., the compound is not ilei-{i/)-an, but 
ilei-(n)-an, or even ilei-{n)-an. n is merely a more liquid form of n, 
and in Malayalam regularly replaces n in the pronoun of the first 
person. Probably also mandr, the epicene plural of the future tense 
of the Tamil verb in some of the poets, is for morar — e.g., enma-{n)-dr, 
they will say, for enmdr, and that for enhdr, the more common form. 

There is thus reason to suppose that originally Tamil agreed with 
Telugu in using a nasal instead of a semi- vowel to keep contiguous 
vowels separate. It may be objected that n evinces no tendency to 


change into v. I admit this ; but if we suppose m, not n, to have 
been the nasal which was originally employed for this purpose, every 
difficulty will disappear ; for m readily changes on the one hand to v, 
and on the other to n. Nor is it a merely gratuitous supposition that 
Telugu may have used m at a former period instead of n, for we 
have already noticed that ni or nu, the euphonic equivalents of n, are 
interchangeable in certain conjunctions with the anusvdra or assimilat- 
ing m; that in two important instances (the copulative particle and 
the aorist formative) the n of Telugu replaces an older m of Tamil ; 
that m is occasionally used instead of n, to prevent hiatus between 
contiguous vowels • and that in Sanskrit also, instead of the n which is 
ordinarily inserted between certain pronominal bases and their case 
terminations, an older m is sometimes employed. It may also be 
noticed that the ni or nu, which may be considered as the euphonic 
suffix of the accusative in Telugu, is replaced in old Canarese by m. 

In Tulu, n is sometimes used to prevent hiatus. When the personal 
pronouns beginning with a vowel are suffixed to participles for the pur- 
pose of forming participial nouns, n is euphonically inserted where v 
would ordinarily be inserted in Tamil and Canarese — e.g., malpu-(n)- 
dye, he who makes. Tamil agrees with Tulu in thus inserting n after 
past participles ending in i — e.g., compare panni-{n)-avan, Tam. 
he who made, with hatti-{n)-dye, Tulu, he who came. Sometimes this 
euphonic n is inserted in Tulu where y would be inserted in Tamil — 
e.g., dhore-{n)-dhulu, Tulu, gentlemen, Tam. durei-{y)-avargal (plural 
used honorifically for singular). In amma-{n)-dkulu, Tulu, mistresses, 
Tamil would run the vowels together. When the adverbial particle 
aga is added to the root of a verb, to denote the time at which an 
action takes place, n inserted between the concurrent vowels — e.g., 
malpu-{n)-aga, when making. Compare with these particulars the 
uses of the druta n of Telugu. The emphatic particle e becomes 
in Tulu not only ye or ve, according to the nature of the preceding 
vowel, as in Tamil, but also ne, after a, and sometimes after e — e.g., 
dye-{n)-e, he himself, n is inserted in like manner before d and 6, the 
interrogative particles, where v would be inserted in Tamil, as also 
before e when used interrogatively. 

The reader cannot fail to have observed that whilst the Dravidian 
languages accord to a certain extent with Sanskrit in the point 
which has now been discussed, they accord to a much larger extent 
with Greek, and in one particular (the prevention of hiatus between 
the contiguous vowels of separate words) with Greek alone. It is 
impossible to suppose that the Dravidian languages borrowed this 
usage from Sanskrit, seeing that it occupies a much less important 


place in Sanskrit tlian in the Dravidian languages, and has been much 
less fully developed. 

It should be mentioned here that the letter r is in some instances 
used to prevent hiatus in each of the Dravidian idioms. In Tamil, M, 
the imperative singular of the verb to preserve, becomes in the plural, 
not kd-{v)-um, but 'kd-{r)-u'm. Canarese in certain cases inserts r 
or ar between the crude noun and the case terminations, instead of the 
more common v, n, or d — e.g., karid'-ar-a, of that which is black. This 
ar, however, is probably only another form of ad. Telugu inserts 
r in a more distinctively euphonic manner, as, for instance, between 
certain nouns and dlu, the suffix by which the feminine gender is some- 
times denoted — e.g., sundaru-{r)-dlu, a handsome woman. Compare 
this with the Tamil soundariya-{y)-al, in which the same separation is 
effected by the use of the more common euphonic v. r is inserted 
euphonically in Telugu in other connections also — e.g., poda-r-illuy 
from poda, leaf, and iUu, house = a bower. 

The d which intervenes between the i of the preterite verbal parti- 
ciple and the suffixes of many Canarese verbs (e.g., mddi-(d)-a, that 
did), though possibly in its origin a sign of the preterite, is now used 
simply as an euphonic insertion. This d becomes invariably n in 
Telugu and Tamil ; and in Tamil it is sometimes softened further into 
y. t is sometimes stated to be used in Telugu for a similar purpose — 
viz., to prevent hiatus between certain nouns of quality and the nouns 
which are qualified by them — e.g., kaTaku-t-amrmc, a sharp arrow, but 
I have no doubt that this t is identical with ti, and was originally 
an inflexional particle, g is in some instances used by Telugu to 
prevent hiatus, or at least as an euphonic formative, where Tamil 
would prefer to use v — e.g., the rational plural noun of number, six 
persons, may either be dru{g)ur-u or dru(y)ur-u. k seems to be used 
for the same purpose in padakondu {pada-k-ondu), eleven, gddu, he, 
for vddu, and gdru, they, for vdru, are instances of the use of ^ for 2^ in 

Harmonic Sequence of Vowels. — In all the languages of the 
Scythian group (Finnish, Turkish, Mongolian, Manchu) a law has been 
observed which may be called *' the law of harmonic sequence." The 
law is, that a given vowel occurring in one syllable of a word, or in 
the root, requires an analogous vowel, i.e. a vowel belonging to the 
same set (of which sets there are in Turkish four) in the following 
syllables of the same word, or in the particles appended to it, which, 
therefore, alter their vowels accordingly. This rule, of which some 
traces remain even in •modern Persian, appears to pervade all the 


Scythian languages, and has been regarded as a confirmation of the 
theory that all those languages have sprung from a common origin. 

In Telugu a similar law of attraction, or harmonic sequence, is found 
to exist. Traces of it, indeed, appear in all the Dravidian lan- 
guages, especially in Tulu, which in this particular comes nearest to 
Telugu ; but it is in Telugu that it comes out most distinctly and 
regularly. The range of its operation in Telugu is restricted to two 
vowels i and u; but in principle it appears to be identical with the 
Scythian law, u being changed into ^, and i into u, according to the 
nature of the preceding vowel. Thus the copulative particle is ni after 
i, i, ei; and nu after u and the other vowels, hu^ the sign of the 
dative case, becomes in like manner hi after i, i, and ei. In the above- 
mentioned instances it is the vowels of the appended particles which 
are changed through the attraction of the vowels of the words to which 
they are suffixed ; but in a large number of cases the suffixed particles 
retain their own vowels, and draw the vowels of the verb or noun to which 
they are suffixed, as also the vowels of any particles that may be added 
to them, into harmony with themselves. Thus, the Telugu pluralising 
termination or suffix being lu, the plural of katti, a knife, would natu- 
rally be hattilu; but the vowel of the suffix is too powerful for that of 
the base, and accordingly the plural becomes Tcattulu. So also, whilst 
the singular dative is katti-Jci, the dative plural is, not hattila-lci, but 
hattula-hu; for la, the plural inflexion, has the same power as the 
pluralising particle hi to convert Tcatti into Tcattu, besides being able to 
change ki, the dative post-position of the singular, into ku. 

In the inflexion of verbs, the most influential particles in Telugu are 
those which are marks of time, and by suffixing which the tenses are 
formed. Through the attraction of those particles, not only the vowels 
of the pronominal fragments which are appended to them, but even 
the secondary vowels of the verbal root itself, are altered into harmony 
with the vowel of the particle of ^time. Thus, from kaluguy to be able, 
du, the aorist particle, and nu, the abbreviation of the pronoun nenu, I, 
is formed the aorist first person singular kahigu-du-nu, I am able. On 
the other hand, the past verbal participle of kalugu, is not kalugi, but 
>fca%i, through the attraction of the final ^, the characteristic of the 
tense ; and the preterite of the first person singular, therefore, is not 
kalugi-ti-nu, but kaligi-ti-ni. Thus, the verbal root kalu becomes 
hali; nu, the abbreviation of nenu, becomes ni; and both have by these 
changes been brought into harmony with ti, an intermediate particle, 
which is probably an ancient sign of the preterite. 

This remarkable law of the Telugu phonetic system evidently accords 
with the essential principles of the law of harmonic sequence by which 


the Scythian languages are characterised, and differs widely from the 
prevailing usage of the Indo-European languages. The change which 
is apparent in the pronominal terminations of the various tenses of the 
Telugu verb {e.g., nu in the first person of the present tense, ni in the 
preterite), have been compared with the variation in Greek and Latin 
of the pronominal terminations of the verb according to the tense. 
But the change in Greek and Latin arises merely from euphonic cor- 
ruption, whereas the Dravidian change takes place in accordance with 
a regular fixed phonic law, the operation of which is still apparent in 
every part of the grammar. 

Though I have directed attention only to the examples of this law 
which are furnished by Telugu, in which it is most fully developed, 
traces of its existence could easily be pointed out in the other dialects. 
Thus, in the Canarese verbal inflexions, the final euphonic or enun- 
ciative vowel of the abbreviated personal pronouns is u, e, or ^, accord- 
ing to the character of the preceding vowel — e.g., mdduttev-e, we do, 
mdduttir-i, ye do, mddidev-u, we did. If in the means employed to 
prevent hiatus between contiguous vowels, the Dravidian languages 
appeared to have been influenced by Indo-European usages, still more 
decided traces of Scythian influences may be noticed in the phonetic 
law now mentioned. 

Principles of Syllabation. — The chief peculiarity of Dravidian 
syllabation is its extreme simplicity and dislike of compound or 
concurrent consonants; and this peculiarity characterises Tamil, the 
earliest cultivated member of the family, in a more marked degree 
than any other Dravidian language. In Telugu, Canarese, and Malay- 
Mam, the great majority of primitive Dravidian words — i.e., words 
which have not been derived from Sanskrit, or altered through San- 
skrit influences — and in Tamil all words without exception, including 
even Sanskrit derivatives, are divided into syllables on the following 
plan. Double or treble consonants at the beginning of syllables, like 
str in strength, are altogether inadmissible. At the beginning, not 
only of the first syllable of every word, but also of every succeeding 
syllable, only one consonant is allowed. If in the middle of a word of 
several syllables, one syllable ends with a consonant and the succeeding 
one commences with another consonant, the concurrent consonants 
must be euphonically assimilated, or else a vowel must be inserted 
between them. At the conclusion of a word, double and treble con- 
sonants, ngth in strength, are as inadmissible as at the beginning : and 
every word must terminate in Telugu, Tulu, and Canarese, in a vowel ; 
in Tamil, either in a vowel or in a single semi-vowel, as I or r, or in a 


single nasal, as n or m. Malayalam resembles Tamil in this, but 
evinces a more decided preference for vowel terminations. It is 
obvious that this plan of syllabation is extremely unlike that of 

The only double consonants which can stand together in the middle 
of a word in Tamil without an intervening vowel, are as follows. The 
various nasals, «, ^, n, n, and m, may precede the sonant of the varga 
to which they belong; and hence n-g, n-s, or n-chf n-d, n-d, m-h, 
may occur, also nn, nn^ nn, nn, mm^ nm^ and nm : the doubled surds, 
M, ii or chcli^ tt^ tt, pp, II, rr (pronounced ttr ; also tk, and tp; Tk, 
rch, and r^ ; yy, II, vv ; and finally nr, pronounced ndr. The only 
treble consonants which can coalesce in Tamil, under any circumstances, 
are the very soft, liquid ones, rnd and ynd. Tamilian laws of sound 
allow only the above-mentioned consonants to stand together in the 
middle of words without the intervention of a vowel. All other con- 
sonants must be assimilated — that is, the first must be made the 
same as the second, or else a vowel must be inserted between them to 
render each capable of being pronounced by Tamilian organs. In the 
other Dravidian dialects, through the influence of Sanskrit, nasals are 
combined, not with sonants only, but also with surds — e.g., pamp-u, 
Tel. to send, ent-u, Can. eight. The repugnance of Tamil to this 
practice is so very decided, that it must be concluded to be non-Dra- 
vidian. Generally i is the vowel which is used for the purpose of 
separating unassimilable consonants, as appears from the manner in 
which Sanskrit derivatives are Tamilised. Sometimes u is employed 
instead of ^. Thus the Sanskrit preposition pra is changed into pira 
in the compound derivatives which have been borrowed by Tamil ; 
whilst Krishna becomes Kiruttina-n (tt instead of sh), or even Kit- 
tina-n. Even such soft conjunctions of consonants as the Sanskrit 
dya, dva, gya, &c., are separated in Tamil into diya, diva, and giya. 
Another rule of Tamil syllabation is, that when the first consonant of 
an unassimilable double consonant is separated from the second and 
formed into a syllable by the intervention of a vowel, every such con- 
sonant (not being a semi-vowel) must be doubled before the vowel is 
sufiixed. Thus, tatva, Sans, nature, becomes in Tamil tatit)uva; 
aprayojana, unprofitable, ap((p)irayosana. 

In consequence of these peculiarities of syllabation and the aggluti- 
native structure of its inflexions, the Tamil language appears very 
verbose and lengthy when compared with Sanskrit and the languages 
of Europe. Nevertheless, each syllable being exceedingly simple, and 
the great majority of the syllables being short, rapidity of enunciation 
is made to compensate for the absence of contraction and compression. 


Finnish, Hungarian, and other languages of the same stock, 
allow of only one consonant at the beginning of a syllable. When 
foreign words which begin with two consonants are pronounced by a 
Magyar, the consonants are separated by the insertion of a vowel — e.g., 
Jcrdl becomes Tcirdly. Where the first consonant is a sibilant, it is 
formed into a distinct syllable by a prefixed vowel — e.g., schola 
becomes ishola. How perfectly in accordance with Tamil this is, is 
known to every European resident in Southern India who has heard 
the natives speak of establishing, or sending their children to, an Eng- 
lish isMl. The same peculiarity has been discovered in the language 
of the Scythic tablets of Behistun. In rendering the word Sparta 
into Scythian, the translator is found to have written it with a preced- 
ing i — e.g., Is'parta, precisely as it would be written in the present day 
in Magyar or in Tamil. 

Professor Max Miiller, in his *' Lectures on the Science of Language, 
Second Series," adduces many similar instances in other families of lan- 
guages. " Many words in Latin begin with sc, st, sp. Some of these 
are found, in Latin inscriptions of the fourth century after Christ, spelt 
with an initial i — e.g., isperitus. It seems that the Celtic nations were 
unable to pronounce an initial s before a consonant, or at least that 
they disliked it. Richards, as quoted by Pott, says, * No British word 
begins with s when a consonant or w follows, without setting y before 
it; and when we borrow any words from another language which 
begin with an s and a consonant immediately following it, we prefix a 
y before such words, as from the Latin schola, ysgol ; spiritus, yspryd.' 
The Spaniards in Peru, even when reading Latin, pronounce estudium 
for studium, eschola for schola. Hence the constant addition of the 
initial vowel in the Western, or chiefly Celtic, branch of the Roman 
family. French esperer, instead of Latin sperare; stabilire, became 
estaUir, lastly e^a&^^r, to establish." — P. 195. " Words beginning with 
more than one consonant are most liable to phonetic corruption. It 
certainly requires an effort to pronounce distinctly two or three con- 
sonants at the beginning without intervening vowels, and we could 
easily understand that one of these consonants should be slurred over 
and allowed to drop. But if it is the tendency of language to facilitate 
pronunciation, we must not shirk the question how it came to pass 
that such troublesome forms were ever framed and sanctioned. Most 
of them owe their origin to contraction — that is to say, to an attempt 
to pronounce two syllables as one, and thus to save time and breath, 
though not without paying for it by an increased consonantal effort." — 
P. 187. " There are languages still in existence in which each syllable 
consists either of a vowel, or of a vowel preceded by one consonant 



only, an(l in wHch no syllable ever ends in a consonant. This is the 
case, for instance, in the Polynesian languages. A Hawaian finds it 
almost impossible to pronounce two consonants together. All syllables 
in Chinese are open or nasal. In South Africa, all the members of the 
great family of speech called by Dr Bleek the Bd-ntu family, agree in 
general with regard to the simplicity of their syllables. In the other 
family of South African speech, the Hottentot, compound consonants 
are equally eschewed at the beginning of words. In Kafir we find 
gold pronounced igolide. If we look to the Finnish, and the whole 
Uralic class of the Northern Turanian languages, we meet with the 
same disinclination to admit double consonants at the beginning, or any 
consonants whatever at the end of words. No genuine Finnish word 
begins with a double consonant, for the assimilated and softened con- 
sonants, which are spelt as double letters, were originally simple 
sounds. The Esthonian, Lapp, Mordvinian, Ostiakian, and Hun- 
garian, by dropping or weakening their final and unaccented vowels, 
have acquired a large number of words ending in simple and double 
consonants ; but throughout the Uralic class, wherever we can trace the 
radical elements of language, we always find simple consonants and 
simple vowels." — P. 190. 

The mode in which compound consonants are dealt with in Prakrit 
and the modern North Indian vernaculars, is investigated and explained 
by Mr Beames in chapter iv. of his " Comparative Grammar." The 
Prakrit rules for the assimilation of compound consonants bear a con- 
siderable resemblance, up to a certain point, to the Dravidian, especially 
in regard to the combination called by Mr Beames '' the strong nexus " 
— that is, the combination, without a vowel, of the strong consonants 
only, such as ht, tp, &c., respecting which the rule of the Prakrits, as of 
Tamil, is that the first consonant should be assimilated to the next. 
Vararuchi expresses the Prakrit rule rather peculiarly by saying that 
the first consonant is elided, the second doubled. The corresponding 
Tamil rule applies only to the treatment of tadhharas, no such con- 
junction of consonants as U^ &c., being possible in words of purely 
Dravidian origin. 

Minor Dialectic Peculiarities, 

1. Eiiplionic Displacement of Consonants. 

In the Dravidian languages, consonants are sometimes found to 
change places through haste or considerations of euphony, especially, 
but not exclusively, in the speech of the vulgar. 

We have an example of this in the Tamil takiy flesh, which by a 
displacement of consonants, and a consequent change of the surd into 


the sonant, has become iadei : Tcudirei, a horse, is in this manner often 
pronounced by the vulgar in the Tamil country Tcuridei; and looking 
at the root-syllable of the Telugu word, gur-ram, it is hard to decide 
whether kuridei or hudirei is to be regarded as the true Dravidian 
original, though the apparent derivation of the word from hudi, Tarn, 
to leap, inclines me to prefer kudirei. In many instances^ through the 
operation of this displacement, we find one form of a word in Tamil, 
and another, considerably different, in Telugu or Canarese. Thus, 
koppul^ Tam. the navel, is in Telugu pokkili, in Malayalam pokkul and 
pokkil; and padar, Tam. to spread as a creeper, is in Canarese parad-u. 
In comparing words in the different dialects, it is always necessary to 
bear in mind the frequent recurrence of this displacement. 

2. Euphonic Displacement of Vowels. 

In Telugu we find many instances of a still more curious displace- 
ment of vowels. This displacement occurs most commonly in words 
which consist of three short syllables beginning with a vowel; and 
when it occurs, we find that the second vowel has disappeared, and 
that the first vowel has migrated from the beginning of the word to the 
second syllable, and at the same time been lengthened to compensate 
for the vowel that is lost. We have here to deal, therefore, with an 
euphonic amalgamation of vowels, as well as an euphonic displacement. 
I take as an example the Dravidian demonstrative pronouns, remote 
and proximate ; and I select the plural, rather than the singular, to get 
rid of the disturbing element of a difference which exists in the forma- 
tives. In Tamil those pronouns are avar, they, remote ; and ivar, they, 
proximate, corresponding to illi and hi. Canarese adds u to each 
word, so that they become avaru and ivaru. By analogy this is the 
form we should expect to find in Telugu also ; but on examination, we 
find in Telugu vdru instead of avaru, and viru instead of ivaru. The 
neuter demonstrative pronouns of Telugu being dissyllables, there 
is no displacement in their nominatives {adi, that, idi, this, correspond- 
ing closely to the Tamil adu, idu) ; but when they become trisyllables 
by the addition of the inflexional suffix ni^ we find a displacement 
similar to that which has been described — e.g., adini, it, or of it, 
becomes ddni, and idini becomes dini. Many ordinary substantives 
undergo in Telugu a similar change — e.g., ural, Tamil, a mortar, pro- 
nounced oral, should by analogy be oralu in Telugu ; but instead of 
oralu we find rdlu. In each of the instances mentioned, the change 
seems to have been produced by the rejection of the second vowel, and 
the substitution for it of a lengthened form of the first. This unsettled- 
ness of the vowels, as Dr Gundert calls it, attaches chiefly to the 
enunciation of I, r, and other liquid consonants. 


As soon as this'peculiar law of the displacement of vowels is brought 
to light, a large number of Telugu words and forms, which at first sight 
appear to be widely different from Tamil and Canarese, are found to 
be the same or but slightly altered. Thus Mdu, Tel., it will not be, 
or it is not, is found to be the same as the Tamil dgddu ; ledu, there 
is not, corresponds to the Tamil illadu, or iladu; and by an extension 
of a similar rule to monosyllables, we find 16, Tel. within, to be iden- 
tical with ul, Tam. ; 61, old Canarese. A similar rule of displacement 
appears in Tulu, though in a less degree. 

3. Rejection of Radical Consonants. 

Telugu and Canarese evince a tendency to reject or soften away 
liquid consonants in the middle of words, even though such consonants 
should belong to the «root, not to the formative. Thus, neruppu, 
Tam. fire, is softened into nippu; elumhu, a bone, into emmu; udal 
(pronounced odal), body, into ollu; porudu^ time, into poddu; erudu, 
an ox, into eddu ; marundu, medicine, into mandu. For the last word 
Tulu has mardu, Can. maddu (ancient Can. mardy). For the Tam. 
erupadu, seventy, Can. has eppattu ; for eruppu, Tam. to raise (root, 
Tam. eru, to rise. Can. elu), Can. has ehhisu. For the Tam. horuppu, 
Icorumei, fat, Can. has hohhe, Tulu komTne. So Tam. erumei, a buffalo, 
Tulu erme, Can. emme. Something similar to this process takes place, 
but not so systematically, in vulgar colloquial Tamil. 

In a few instances, on the other hand, Telugu appears to have 
retained a radical letter which has disappeared in some connections 
from Tamil. For example, 6dii, with, together with, is the suffix 
of the Tamil conjunctive case. On examining Telugu, we find that 
the corresponding suffix is t6da. It has already been shown that d in 
Telugu corresponds to r in Tamil ; and consequently t6da would become 
in Tamil tora. t6ra {t6ra-mei) is contained in Tamil, and means com- 
panionship — a meaning which appears also in many Telugu compounds ; 
and thus by the help of Telugu we find that the Tamil 6du and 
tdra are closely allied, if not virtually identical ; that the meaning of 
the suffix 6du accords with its use ; and that there is also reason to 
conclude another pair of similar words to be allied, viz., udan, with. 
Can. odane, a suffix of the conjunctive case, in itself a noun signify- 
ing connection, and todar^ a verbal root, to follow, to join on, written 
also tudar. 

Dr Gundert is right in considering 6du a lengthened secondary form 
of odu, which is still used in MalayMam poetry (and equally so in 
Tamil). Old Can. has oda, odam, modern Can. odane; Tulu ottugu, 
with. Can. odane is of course the equivalent of the Tam. udan, 
together with, odu, therefore, he thinks, needs no explanation from 


Tel. todu, Tarn, tora, companionship, the root of which latter word is 
torn (found with this meaning in Tam. torudi, a crowd), todar, to 
follow, explains itself as a verbal noun of todu, to touch, to connect. 
These three roots he considers as altogether distinct from, and in- 
dependent of, each other. It seems to me, however, on a comparison 
of the three roots, difficult to avoid the conclusion that they are sub- 
stantially identical. The lengthening of the root vowel in secondary 
forms of roots is quite common in Tamil, and the close relationship of 
the radical meanings of the shorter forms, odu, todu^ and toru, favours 
the supposition that they are only different forms of the same root. 
I cannot perceive any essential difference between the radical mean- 
ings of odu and todu. The former, as we see from its verbal noun 
ottu, means to touch so as to adhere, the latter simply to touch. 
The slight variations apparent in form and meaning appear to me to be 
specialisations of a common root. See the section on the radiation of 
roots, through " Particles of Specialisation.'' 

4. Accent. 

It is generally stated that the Dravidian languages are destitute of 
accent, and that emphasis is conveyed by the addition of the e em- 
phatic alone. Though, however, the Dravidian languages are destitute 
of the Indo-Greek system of accents, the use of accent is not altogether 
unknown to them ; and the position of the Dravidian accent, always an 
acute one, accords well with the agglutinative structure of Dravidian 
words. The accent is upon the first syllable of the word; that syllable 
alone, in most cases, constituting the base, prior to every addition of 
formatives and inflexional forms, and remaining always unchanged. 
The first syllable of every word may be regarded as the natural seat of 
accent ; but if the word be compounded, a secondary accent distinguishes 
the first syllable of the second member of the compound. 

As in other languages, so in the Dravidian, accent is carefully to be 
distinguished from quantity; and in enunciation an accented short 
vowel is more emphatic than an unaccented long one. Thus, in the 
intransitive Tamil verb adangugivadu, it is contained, the second 
syllable, ang, is long by position, yet the only accent is that which is 
upon the first syllable ad, which, though shorter than the second, is 
more emphatic. Another example is furnished by the compound verb 
udeind^-iruhlciadu, it is broken; literally, having been broken it is. 
Though in this instance the second syllable of the first word of the 
compound is long, not only by position, but by nature, and the second 
syllable of the auxiliary word is long by position, yet the principal 
accent rests upon the first syllable of the first word, ud, the most 
emphatic portion of the Compound, and the secondary accent rests upon 


ir, the first syllable and crude base of the auxiliary ; hence it is pro- 
nounced udeindimJchiTadu, every syllable except the two accented 
ones being enunciated lightly and with rapidity. 

The general rule of the Dravidian languages, which fixes the accent 
in the first or root syllable, admits of one exception. In poetical Tamil 
one and the same form is used as the third person of the verb (in each 
tense, number, and gender) and as a participial noun — e.^., dduvdn 
means either he will read, or one who reads — i.e., a reader. Even in 
the colloquial dialect the third person neuter singular, especially in the 
future tense, is constantly used in both senses — e.g., dduvadu^ means 
either it will read, or, that which will read, or abstractly, yet more 
commonly still, a reading, or to read. The same form being thus used 
in a double sense, Tamil grammarians have determined that the differ- 
ence in signification should be denoted by a difference in accent. Thus 
when dduvdn is a verb, meaning he will read, the accent is left in its 
natural place, on the root syllable — e.g.^ oduvdn; but when it is an 
appellative or participial noun, meaning he who reads, the pronominal 
termination is to be pronounced more emphatically, that is, it becomes 
the seat of accent — e.g., dduvdn. 

Dr Gundert (in an article in the Journal of the German Oriental 
Society for 1869) directs attention to a subject which I had not suffi- 
ciently discussed — viz., the changes which Sanskrit sounds undergo 
when Sanskrit words are Dravidianised. Old tadbhavas, he observes, 
are not to be regarded as mere corruptions. Most of the changes that 
have taken place when Sanskrit words have been adopted by the 
Dravidian dialects have been in accordance with rule, though some 
appear to be arbitrar}% It would be easy, he says, to point out the 
laws in virtue of which, for instance, the Sans, vrishabha, an ox, has 
become basava in Can., Tel, and Tulu; in Tarn, and Mai. idaba and 
edava; and also to show how the Sans, parva, a season, becomes in 
Tam. paruva, in Can. habba; and how Brahma has become in Tel. 
Bomma, and in Tam. Pirama. He contents himself, however, with 
pointing out some of the laws which appear in the formation of the 
oldest class of tadbhavas. One of these laws consists in the simple 
omission of non-Dravidian sounds, such as the sibilants. Thus, sahasram, 
Sans, for one thousand, becomes in Can. savira, in Tulu sdra, in Tam. 
dyiram. The latter has been formed, he thinks, thus — sahasiram = 
a-a-iram = dyiram. So, out of the Pali name for Ceylon, Sihalam, 
the old Tamil formed Ilam. The nakshatras Mrigastrsham and 
Srdvanam, have become in Mai. Magayiram and Onam. ^ramana, a 
Jaina ascetic, becomes in Tamil Saman.a-n, and also Amana-n ; Sisamy 
lead, becomes tyam. 


Another rule, which shows itself especially in Canarese, is the short- 
ening of the long vowels of Sanskrit. Thus, from Sans. Jcumdrty a 
young girl, comes Tamil humari (whence Gomorin), from ireshti, a 
superior, comes Setti (chetty), the title of the merchant caste. A 
noticeable illustration is Sanskrit, sneha, oil, which in all the Dravidian 
dialects becomes net/. Another important rule consists in the separa- 
tion of vowels. No old Dravidian word can commence with I or r. 
Hence rdjd, a king, becomes commonly Msd; lokay ulogam. The pre- 
dilection for short vowels produces a further change in these words — 
rdjd becomes in Tamil arasa-n and araya-n; loha, ulagam^ and ulagu; 
Sans. Revatty the nakshatra, becomes Iravati. 

88 ROOTS. 

PART 11. 


Befoee proceeding to examine and compare tlie grammatical forms of 
the Dravidian languages, it is desirable to examine the characteristics 
of Dravidian roots, and the nature of the changes which are effected in 
them by the addition of the grammatical forms. The manner in which 
various languages deal with their roots is strongly illustrative of their 
essential spirit and distinctive character ; and it is chiefly with refer- 
ence to their differences in this particular, that the languages of Europe 
and Asia admit of being arranged into classes. 

Those classes are as follows : — (1.) The monosyllabic, uncompounded, 
or isolative languages, of which Chinese is the principal example, in 
which roots admit of no change or combination, and in which all 
grammatical relations are expressed either by auxiliary words or 
phrases, or by the position of words in a sentence. (2.) The Semitic 
or intro-mutative languages, in which grammatical relations are ex- 
pressed by internal changes in the vowels of dissyllabic roots. (3.) The 
agglutinative languages, in which grammatical relations are expressed 
by affixes or suffixes added to the root or compounded with it. In 
the latter class I include both the Indo-European and the Scythian 
groups of tongues. They differ, indeed, greatly from one another in 
details, and that not only in their vocabularies but also in their gram- 
matical forms ; yet I include them both in one class, because they 
appear to agree, or to have originally agreed, in the principle of 
expressing grammatical relation by means of the agglutination of 
auxiliary words. The difference between them is rather in degree than 
in essence. Agreeing in original construction, they differ considerably 
in development. In the highly-cultivated languages of the Indo- 
European family, post-positional additions have gradually been melted 
down into inflexions, and sometimes even blended with the root; 
whilst in the less plastic languages of the Scythian group, the principle 
of agglutination has been more faithfully retained, and every portion 
and particle of every compound word has not only maintained its 


original 'position, but held fast its separate individuality. In this 
particular the Dravidian languages agree in general rather with the 
Scythian than the Indo-European ; and hence in each dialect of the 
flmily there is, properly speaking, only one declension and one conju- 

It is to be remembered that the three classes mentioned above, into 
which the languages of Europe and Asia have been divided, are not 
separated from one another by hard and fast lines of distinction. 
Their boundaries overlap one another. Probably all languages consisted 
at first of isolated monosyllables. The isolative languages have become 
partly agglutinative, and changes in the internal vowels of roots, which 
are specially characteristic of the Semitic languages, are not unknown 
in the agglutinative class, especially in the Indo-European family. 
Such internal changes may occasionally be observed even in the Dra- 
vidian languages. 

I here proceed to point out the most notable peculiarities of the 
Dravidian root-system, and of the manner in which roots are affected 
by inflexional combinations. 

Arrangement of Dravidian Hoots into Classes. — Dravidian 
roots, considered by themselves, apart from formative additions of every 
kind, may be arranged into the three classes of — (1.) Verbal roots, 
capable in general of being used also as nouns, which constitute by far 
the most numerous class j (2.) Nouns which cannot be traced up to any 
extant verbs. 

1. Verbal Hoots. — The Dravidian languages differ from Sanskrit and 
Greek, and accord with the languages of the Scythian group, in gener- 
ally using the crude root of the verb, without any addition, as the 
imperative of the second person singular. This is the general rule, and 
the few apparent exceptions that exist are to be regarded either as 
corruptions, or as euphonic or honorific forms of the imperative. In a 
few instances, both in Tamil and in Telugu, the second person singular 
of the imperative has cast off its final consonant, which is generally in 
such cases a soft guttural or a liquid; but in those instances the 
unchanged verbal theme is found in the less used second person plural, 
or in the infinitive. 

A considerable proportion of Dravidian roots are used either as 
verbal themes or as nouns, without addition or alteration in either 
case ; and the class in which they are to be placed depends solely on 
the connection. The use of any root as a noun may be, and in general 
is, derived from its use as a verb, which would appear to be the 
primary condition and usfi of most words belonging to this class; 

90 EOOTS. 

but as such words, when used as nouns, are used without the addition 
of formatives or any other marks of derivation, they can scarcely be 
regarded as derivatives from verbs; but in respect of grammatical 
form, the verb and the noun must be considered either as twin sisters 
or as identical. The following will suffice as examples of this twofold 
condition or use of the same root : — sol, Tam. as a verb, means to 
speak ; as a noun, a word ; tari, Tam. as a verb, to lop, to chop off ; 
as a noun, a stake, a loom ; mwr^, Tam. as a verb, to break in two ; as 
a noun, a fragment, a document written on a fragment of a palm-leaf, 
a bond. In these instances it is evident that the radical meaning of the 
word is unrestrained, and free to take either a verbal or a nominal 
direction. Moreover, as the Dravidian adjective is not separate from 
the noun, but is generally identical with it, each root may be said to be 
capable of a threefold use — viz., (1.) as a noun,, (2.) as an adjective, and 
(3.) as a verb. Thus, in Tamil, kad-u, if used as the nominative of a 
verb, or followed by case terminations, is a noun, and means harshness or 
pungency ; if it is placed before another noun for the purpose of quali- 
fying it, it becomes an adjective — e.g., Mdu-nadei, a sharp walk ; Tcadu- 
vdy, the tiger, literally harsh mouth; and when standing alone, or 
preceded by a pronoun of the second person, expressed or understood, 
it becomes a verb — e.g., Tcadu, be sharp. With the formative addition 
gu, the same root becomes Icadu-gu, mustard, that which is pungent. 
Again, when the included vowel is lengthened,, it becomes Mdu, a forest, 
literally what is rough, harsh, or rugged. 

It would appear that originally there was »o difference in any in- 
stance between the verbal and the nominal form of the root in any 
Dravidian dialect. Gradually, however, as the dialects became more 
cultivated, and as logical distinctness was felt to be desirable, a sepa- 
ration commenced to take place. This separation was effected by 
modifying the theme by some formative addition^ when it was desired 
to restrict it to one purpose alone, and prevent it from being used for 
others also. In many instances the theme is still used in poetry, in 
accordance with ancient usages, indifferently either as a verb or as a 
noun ; but in prose more commonly as a noun only, or as a verb only. 

2. Nouns. — In Sanskrit and the languages allied to it, all words, 
with the exception of a few pronouns and particles, are derived by 
native grammarians from verbal roots. In the Dravidian languages 
the number of nouns which are incapable of being traced up or resolved 
into verbs is more considerable. Still, such nouns bear but a small 
proportion to the entire number ; and not a few which are generally 
considered to be underived roots are in reality verbal nouns or verbal 


Many Dravidian dissyllabic nouns have for their second syllable al, 
a particle which is a commonly used formative of verbal nouns in 
Tamil, and a sign of the infinitive in Canarese and Gond. All nouns 
of this class may safely be concluded to have sprung from verbal roots. 
In most instances their themes are discoverable, though in a few no 
trace of the verb from which they have been derived is now apparent. 
I cannot doubt that the following Tamil words, generally regarded as 
primitives, are derived from roots which are still in use — viz., viral, a 
finger, from viri, to expand ; kadal, the sea, from kada, to pass beyond ; 
pagal, day as distinguished from night, properly mid-da.y, from pag-u, 
to divide ; hudal, a bowel, from kudei, to hollow out. 

There are many words in the Dravidian, as in other languages, de- 
noting primary objects which are identical with, or but slightly altered 
from, existing verbal roots, possessing a more generic signification. 
What is specially noticeable is the smallness of the change the roots 
have undergone in the Dravidian languages. One might suppose the 
name of the object to have been affixed to it only a few years ago. 
These languages present in consequence the appearance of fresh youth, 
yet doubtless the true inference is that they have remained substan- 
tially unchanged (possibly in consequence of the high cultivation they 
received) from a very early period. The change effected consists in 
general only in the addition to the root of a formative particle, or in 
the lengthening of the included vowel of the root. Either way the 
name of the object is simply a verbal noun with the signification of 
a noun of quality. The following illustrations are from Tamil : — 
nilam, the ground, from nil, to stand j nddu, the cultivated country, 
from nadu, to plant ; Mdu, the forest, from Jcadu, to be rugged (com- 
pare also kadam, a rough way, a forest) ; vin, the sky, from vil, to be 
clear ; min, a star, also a fish, from min, to glitter ; velli, the planet 
Venus, also silver, from vel, white ; kudirei, a horse, from kudi, to 
leap ; pandri (pal-ti), a hog, from pal, a tusk ; ddu, a sheep, from 
ddu, to frisk. (Dr Gundert carries this noun still further back, but 
with some risk of error, to adu, to fight or cook, the sheep being re- 
garded as the fighting animal, or the animal that was cooked) : kan, 
the eye, identical with kdn (in the past tense kan), to see ; miXkku, the 
nose (Tel. mukku, Can. milgu), from mug-ar, to smell ; nAkku, the 
tongue, from nakku, to lick (compare the probably older nd, the tongue, 
with ndy, a dog, the animal that licks). Probably also kei, the hand, 
bears the same relation to sey, to do (Can. geyu), that the Sanskrit 
kara, the hand, bears to kar {kri), to do. In Telugu, che, the hand, is 
identical with che, to do {kei also is used in Telugu). I may here re- 
mark that the names of animals in the Dravidian languages are not 

92 BOOTS. 

imitations of the so^inds they make, but are predicative words, expres- 
sive of some one of their qualities. 

Though the greater number of Dravidian nouns are undoubtedly to 
be regarded as verbal derivatives, a certain proportion remain which 
cannot now be traced to any ulterior source. In this class are to be 
included the personal pronouns ; some of the particles of relation which 
answer to the case signs and prepositions of other languages ; and 
a considerable number of common nouns, including some names of 
objects^— e.^., Ml J foot. Teal, a stone, and most nouns of quality — e.g., 
Tear, black, vel, white, se, red, &c. A suspicion may be entertained 
that some of the apparently simple nouns belonging to this class are 
derived from verbal roots which have become obsolete. Thus, mun, 
before, a noun of relation, appears at first sight to be an underived 
radical, yet it is evident that it is connected with mudal, first ; and 
this word, being a verbal noun in dal, is plainly derived from a verb 
in mu, now lost ; so that, after all, mun itself appears to be a verbal 
derivative : met, above, may similarly be traced to a lost verb mi, 
apparent in the Telugu and Tamil midu, above ; met is equivalent to 
mi-y-al : Mr, below, may be traced to Mr (found in Mr-angu, root). 

A large majority of the Dravidian post-positions and adverbs, 
and of the particles employed in nominal and verbal inflexions 
are known to be verbs or nouns adapted to special uses. Every 
word belonging to the class of adverbs and prepositions in the Dravi- 
dian languages is either the infinitive or the participle of a verb, or the 
nominative, the genitive, or the locative of a noun ; and even of the 
inflexional particles which are employed in the declension of nouns, 
and in conjugating verbs, nearly all are easily recognised to be derived 
from nouns or verbs. Thus, in Telugu, the signs of the instrumental 
ablative, die and cheta, are the nominative and locative of the word 
hand. So also the Tamil locative of rest may be formed by the addi- 
tion of any noun which signifies a place ; and the locative of separation, 
a case denoting motion from a place, or rather the place from whence 
motion commences, is formed by the addition of in or of il, the ordi- 
nary sign of the locative of rest, which means ' here ' or a house. 

The same suffix added to the crude aoristic form of the verb, con- 
stitutes the subjunctive case in Tamil — e.g., var-il or var-in, if (he, she, 
it, or they) come, literally, in (his or their) coming — that is, in the 
event of (his or their) coming. 

Of the post-positions or suffixes which are used as signs of case, 
some distinctly retain their original meaning; in some, the original 
meaning shines more or less distinctly through the technical appropri- 
ation ; but it is doubtful whether any trace whatever remains of the 


original meaning of huy H, or ge, the sign of the dative and particle of 
direction. The Dravidian dative has, therefore, assumed the character 
of a real grammatical case ; and in this particular the Dravidian lan- 
guages have been brought into harmony with the genius of the Indo- 
European grammar. 

Dravidian Koots originally Monosyllabic. — It may appear at 
first sight scarcely credible that the Dravidian roots were originally 
monosyllabic, when it is considered that the majority of the words in 
every Dravidian sentence are longer than those of (perhaps) any other 
language in Asia or Europe {e.g., compare irukhivadu, Tamil, it is, with 
the Latin est), and are inferior in length only to the words of the poly- 
synthetic languages of America. 

The great length of Dravidian words arises partly from the separa- 
tion of clashing consonants by the insertion of euphonic vowels, but 
chiefly from the successive agglutination of formative and inflexional 
particles and pronominal fragments. A considerable number of Dra- 
vidian verbal themes, prior to the addition of inflexional forms, are 
trisyllabic ; but it will generally be found that the first two syllables 
have been expanded out of one by the euphonic insertion or addition 
of a vowel ; whilst the last syllable of the apparent base is in reality a 
formative addition, which appears to have been the sign of a verbal 
noun in its origin, but which now serves to distinguish transitive verbs 
from intransitives. In some instances the first syllable of the verbal 
theme contains the root, whilst the second is a particle anciently added 
to it, and compounded with it for the purpose of expanding or restrict- 
ing the signification. The syllables that are added to the inflexional 
base are those which denote case, tense, person, and number. 

Hence, whatever be the length and complication of Dravidian words, 
they may invariably be traced up to monosyllabic roots, by a careful 
removal of successive accretions. Thus, when we analyse ptrugugiv- 
adUf Tam. it increases, we find that the final adu represents the pro- 
noun it, giT is the sign of the present tense, and perugu is the base or 
verbal theme. Of this base, the final syllable gu is only a formative, 
restricting the verb to an intransitive or neuter signification ; and by 
its removal we come to peru, the real root, which is used also as an 
adjective or noun of quality, signifying greatness or great. Nor is 
even this dissyllable peru the ultimate condition of the root j it is an 
euphonised form of per, which is found in the adjectives per-iya and 
per-um, great ; and an euphonically lengthened but monosyllabic form 
of the same is per. Thus^ by successive agglutinations, a word of six 
syllables has been found to grow out of one. In all these forms, and 

94 ROOTS. 

under every shape which the word can assume, the radical element 
remains unchanged, or is so slightly changed that it can readily be 
pointed out by the least experienced scholar. The root always stands 
out in distinct relief, unobscured, unabsorbed, though surrounded by a 
large family of auxiliary affixes. This distinctness and prominence of 
the radical element in every word is a characteristic feature of all the 
Scythian tongues {e.g., of the Turkish and the Hungarian) ; whilst in 
the Semitic and Indo-European tongues the root is frequently so much 
altered that it can scarcely be recognised. 

Dravidian roots, adds Dr Gundert, arrange themselves naturally in 
two classes, each originally monosyllabic ; one class ending in a vowel 
generally long — e.g., d, to become; sd, to die; p6, to go; or ending in 
a consonant, in which case the vowel is short — e.g., ad\ to approach; 
an\ to be in contact ; nil, to stand ; sel, to go. (Additions to these 
monosyllabic roots are either formative particles, particles of specialisa- 
tion, or helps to enunciation.) 

It is desirable here to explain in detail the manner in which Dra- 
vidian roots, originally monosyllabic, have been lengthened by the 
insertion or addition of euphonic vowels, or by formative additions, or 
in both ways. 

Euphonic Lengthening op Roots.* — Crude Dravidian roots are 
sometimes lengthened by the addition of an euphonic vowel to the 
base. This euphonic addition to the final consonant takes place in 
grammatical Telugu and Canarese in the case of all words ending in a 
consonant, whatever be the number of syllables they contain. Vowel 
additions to roots which contain two syllables and upwards, seem to be 
made solely for the purpose of helping the enunciation ; but when the 
additions which have been made to some monosyllabic roots are 
examined, it will be found that they are intended not so much for 
vocalisation as for euphonisation. 

When it is desired merely to help the enunciation of a final con- 
sonant, u is the vowel that is ordinarily employed for this purpose, and 
this u is uniformly elided when it is followed by another vowel ; but u 
is not the only vowel which is added on to monosyllabic roots, though 

* Dr Gundert considers the " euphonic lengthening of Dravidian roots " very- 
doubtful. He prefers to consider the lengthened forms of the roots secondary- 
verbal themes. On the other hand, the interchangeableness of the added vowels 
in the various dialects, as will presently be shown, seems to me to prove the 
correctness, on the whole, of the view I have taken. Some of the lengthened 
forms of Dravidian roots are undoubtedly to be regarded as secondary verbal 
themes. These will be considered further on. 


perhaps it is most frequently met with ; and in some of the instances 
under consideration, it becomes so intimately blended with the real base 
that it will not consent to be elided. Next to w, the vowel which is 
most commonly employed is i, then follows a, then e or e^, according 
to the dialect. Verbal roots borrowed from Sanskrit have generally 
i added to the final consonants in all the Dravidian languages, to 
which Telugu adds nchuy and Canarese su, formatives which will be 
noticed afterwards. Thus, sap, Sans, to curse, is in Tamil sahi, in 
Tel. sapinchu, in Can. sahisu. On comparing the various Dravidian 
idioms, it will be found that all these auxiliary or enunciative vowels 
are interchangeable. Thus, of Tamil verbs in a, mora, to forget, is in 
Canarese mare; of Tamil verbs in % hadi, to bite, is in Telugu hara^ 
chu; gelij to win, is in Canarese gillu. Of Tamil verbs in ei, mulei, 
to sprout, is in Telugu moluchu. These final vowels being thus inter- 
changeable equivalents, it appears to me evident that they are intended 
merely as helps to enunciation, that they are not essential parts of the 
themes to which they are suffixed, and that they do not add anything 
to their meaning. 

Dr Gundert considers u to be the only enunciative or euphonic 
vowel. The other auxiliary vowels a, i, ei, dec, he considers the for- 
mative particles of secondary verbal themes. One Canarese dialect, he 
observes (the modern), prefers e — e.g., nade, to walk, instead of the 
Tamil nada; the other (the ancient), i, — e.g., nadi. The radical form 
he considers to be nad-u, a root no longer used in Tamil in the sense 
of to walk, but meaning to plant. He suggests that mulei, to sprout, 
may be from a lost mul, to come forth, to protrude, whence mul, a 
thorn. This also he suggests may be a verbal noun, a derivative of 
mu, to be prominent, to be before. The verb nada, to walk, adduced 
by Dr Gundert, seems to me to prove that in this instance at least, 
and therefore probably in some other instances, the vowel added to 
the root is simply, as I have represented it to be, a help to enuncia- 
tion. On comparing Tam.-Mal. nada, anc. Can. nadi, mod. Can. nade, 
Tel. nadu — all which forms convey exactly the same meaning — I feel 
obliged to conclude that the a, i, e, and u are interchangeable equiva- 
lents, and therefore merely euphonic. On the other hand, where a 
series of verbal roots followed by these vowels is met with in the voca- 
bulary of one and the same dialect, and we find that each root so 
altered possesses a meaning of its own, I have no hesitation in classing 
the added vowels in question with Particles of Specialisation (which 
see). We may fairly conclude this to be the case with one of the verbs 
referred to by Dr Gundert — viz., padu. In this shape in Tamil it 
appears to mean primarily, to come in contact with, commonly, to lie 

96 ROOTS. 

down, to be caught, to suflfer; padi is to settle down, to subside; 
padei, to lay down, to present food, &c. (padei, a layer in a building, 
an army). Compare also padar^ to spread, padal, a slab, and padagu, 
a boat. 

FonMATiVB Additions to Koots. — Formative suffixes are appended 
to the crude bases of nouns as well as to those of verbs. They are 
added not only to verbal derivatives, but to nouns which appear to be 
primitive ; but they are most frequently appended to verbs properly so 
called, of the inflexional bases of which they form the last syllable, 
generally the third. These particles seem originally to have been the 
formatives of verbal nouns, and the verbs to which they are suffixed 
seem originally to have had the force of secondary verbs ; but what- 
ever may have been the origin of these particles, they now serve to 
distinguish transitive verbs from intransitives, and the adjectival form 
of nouns from that which stands in an isolated position and is used 
as a nominative. In Tamil, in which these formatives are most largely 
used and most fully developed, the initial consonant of the formative 
is single when it marks the intransitive or neuter signification of the 
verb, or that form of the noun which governs verbs or is governed by 
them : when it marks the transitive or active voice of the verb, or the 
adjectival form of the noun — viz., that form of the noun which is 
assumed by the first of two nouns that stand in a case relation to one 
another — the initial consonant of the formative is doubled, and is at 
the same time changed from a sonant into a surd. The single con- 
sonant, which is characteristic of the intransitive formative, is often 
euphonised by prefixing a nasal, without, however, altering its signifi- 
cation or value. The Tamilian formatives are — (1.) gu or ngu, and its 
transitive kku, answering to the Telugu chic or nchu ; (2.) sw, and its 
transitive ksu or chchu; (3.) du or ndu, and its transitive ttu, with its 
equivalent du or tidu, and its transitive ttu; and (4.) hu or mhu, with 
its transitive ppu. 

Though I call these particles formatives, they are not regarded in 
this light by native grammarians. They are generally suffixed even to 
the imperative, which is supposed by them to be the crude form of the 
verb ; they form a portion of the inflexional base, to which all signs 
of gender, number, and case, and also of mood and tense, are appended ', 
and hence it was natural that native grammarians should regard them 
as constituent elements of the root. I have no doubt, however, of 
the propriety of representing them as formatives, seeing that they con- 
tribute nothing to the signification of the root, and that it is only by 
means of a further change, i.e., by being hardened and doubled, that 


they express a grammatical relation, viz., the difference between the 
transitive and the intransitive forms of verbs, and between adjectival 
and independent nouns. 

In this particular, perhaps, more than in any other, the high gram- 
matical cultivation of Tamil has developed a tendency to imitate the 
Indo-European tongues by retaining syllables of which it has test the 
original distinctive meaning, and combining such syllables after a time 
with the radical element of the word, or using them for a new purpose. 

I proceed to consider the various formatives more particularly, with 
examples of their use and force. 

(1.) leu, pronounced gu, with its nasalised equivalent ngu, and its 
transitive hhu. Tamil examples : peru-gu, intrans. to become increased, 
peru-hkuj trans, to cause to increase ; ada-ngu, to be contained, 
ada-khuj to contain. So also in the case of dissyllabic roots — e.g., 
d-gu, to become, d-kku, to make ; ni-ngu, to quit, ni-hhu, to put away. 
There is a considerable number of nouns, chiefly trisyllabic, in which 
the same formative is employed. In this case, however, there is no 
difference between the isolated shape of the noun and the adjectival 
shape. Whatever particle is used, whether gu, ngu, or TcTcu, it retains 
its position in all circumstances unchanged. Examples : pada-gu, a 
boat, kira-ngu, a root, haru-kku, a sharp edge. From a comparison of 
the above examples, it is evident that ng is equivalent to g, and 
euphonised from it ; and that ng, equally with g, becomes kk in a 
transitive connection. In a few instances, hku, the transitive forma- 
tive, is altered in colloquial Tamil usage to ch, chu, according to a law 
of interchange already noticed — e.g., kdykku, to boil (crude root kdy, 
to be hot), is generally written and pronounced kdychchu. This altered 
form of the sign of the transitive, which is the exception in Tamil, is 
in Telugu the rule of the language, kku being regularly replaced in 
Telugu by chu. 

In Telugu the intransitive formative gu is not euphonically altered 
into ngu as in Tamil ; but an obscure nasal, the half anusvdra, often 
precedes the gu, and shows that in both languages the same tendency 
.to nasalisation exists. It is remarkable, that whilst Tamil often 
nasalises the formative of the neuter, and never admits a nasal into the 
transitive formative, Telugu, in a large number of cases, nasalises 
the transitive, and generally leaves the neuter in its primitive, un- 
nasalised condition. Thus in Telugu, whenever the base terminates in 
i (including a large number of Sanskrit derivatives), chu is converted 
into nchu; though neither in this nor in any case does the kku of the 
Tamil change into ngku. ^.g.-, from ratti, double, Tamil forms 
ratti-kka (infinitive), to double j whilst the Telugu form of the same 

98 ROOTS. 

is retti-ncha. manni-ncha, to forgive, in Telugu, corresponds in the 
same manner to the Tamil manni-kka. In some cases in Telugu the 
euphonic nasal is prefixed to chu, not after ^ only, but after other vowels 
besides. Thus, perugu, to increase, neut. is the same in Tamil and in 
Telugu, but instead of finding peru-chu to be the transitive or active 
(cot-responding to the Tamil transitive peru-Tcku), we find penchu, cor- 
rupted from per^-nchu : so also instead of pagu-kku, Tam. to divide, we 
find in Telugu panchu, for pag^-nchu. 

The identity of the Tamil k and the Telugu ch appears also from the 
circumstance that in many cases vu may optionally be used in Telugu 
instead of chu. This use of vu as the equivalent of chu points to a 
time when gu was the formative in ordinary use in Telugu as in Tamil ; 
for ch has no tendency to be converted into v, h, or p, whilst h OT'g 
constantly evinces this tendency to change into v, not only in Telugu, 
but also in colloquial Tamil ; and v is regularly interchangeable with 
h and its surd p. I conclude, therefore, that gu was the original shape 
of this formative in the Dravidian languages ; and that its doubled, 
surd shape, kku^ the formative of transitives, was softened in Telugu 
into chu, and in Canarese still further softened into hi. 

(2.) ^w, and its transitive ssu, pronounced chchu. — This formative 
is very rare in Tamil, and the examples which Telugu contains, 
though abundant, are not to the point, inasmuch as they are apparently 
altered from the older ku and Jcku, by the ordinary softening process 
by which k changes into s or ch, and kk into chch. A Tamil example 
of this formative is seen in adei-su, to take refuge, of which the transi- 
tive is adei-chchu, to enclose, to twine round. 

(3.) du or ndu, with its transitive form ttu. — There appears to be 
no difference whatever between this formative and the other three, gu, 
su, or bu, in meaning or grammatical relation; and as gu is eupho- 
nised in the intransitive to ngu, so is die to ndu; whilst in the transi- 
tive the doubled d (and its equivalent nd) changes by rule into tt 
The euphonic change of du to ndu has so generally taken place, that 
ndu is invariably used instead of du in the formatives of verbs of this 
class; and it is only in the formatives of nouns that du, the more 
primitive form, is sometimes found to have survived. The formative 
gu remains unaltered in the adjectival form of nouns ; but du changes 
into ttu, when used adjectivally, in the same manner as in the transi- 
tive voice of verbs. Tamil examples of this formative : tiru-ndu, to 
become correct, tirvrttu, to correct; maru-ndu, medicine, adjectival 
form of the same, maru-ttu — e.g., maruttu-(p)pei, a medicine bag. The 
primitive unnasalised du and its adjectival ttu are found in such words 
as eru-du, a bull, an ox, and eru-ttu-(p)pi2ttic, the fastening of an ox's 


traces. Nearly all the verbs which take du or ndu as a formative are 
trisyllabic. Of the few dissyllabic verbs of this class in Tamil, the 
most interesting is ntndu, to swim, of which I am inclined to consider 
ni as the crude form. Nindu is evidently an euphonised form of n%du 
(du changed into ndu) ; for the verbal noun derived from it, nittal, 
swimming, is without the nasal, and Telugu uses idu for the verb 
itself, instead of indu, Tulu nanda, Can. Uu, tju. I have little 
doubt that the du, ndu, or ju of this word is simply a formative. It 
is open to question whether the initial n of the Tamil word is a cor- 
ruption, owing to the fondness- of the Tamil for nasal sounds, so that 
the original shape was t or idu, or whether the Tel. and Can. word 
had the initial n originally, but lost it in course of time. Comparing 
the Tamil word with mr, the word for water in all the Dravidian 
dialects, I am inclined to consider nt the primitive base, answering to 
the Greek i-e-w, the Latin no, nato, and also to nau, Sans, a boat, of 
which Sanskrit does not appear to contain the root. 

Derivative nouns formed from verbs which have formative suffixes, 
always prefer as their formative the transitive suffix, or that which 
doubles and hardens the initial consonant. Thus from tiru-ndu, Tarn, 
to become correct, is formed tiru-ttam, correction ; and from tH-ngu, to 
sleep, til-kham, sleep (comp. tuyil, sleep). In some instances the 
crude root of a verb is used as the intransitive, whilst the transitive is 
formed by the addition of ttu to the root. JE.g., padu, Tam. to lie 
down, padu-ttu, to lay; tdr, to be low, tdr-ttu, to lower; nil (Tel. 
nilu), to stand, nivu-ttu (for nilu-ttu), to establish. In such cases 
Canarese uses du instead of the Tamil ttu — e.g., tM-du, to lower, 
instead of tdr-ttu. This transitive formative is sometimes represented 
as a causal ; but it will be shown in the section on ''' The Verb " that 
i is the only real causal in the Dravidian languages. In all the cases 
now mentioned, where ttu is used as the formative of the transitive by 
Tamil, Telugu uses chu or pu. 

I class under the head of this formative all those nouns in which the 
cerebral consonants d, nd, and tt, are used in the same manner and for 
the same purpose as the dentals d, nd, and tt — e.g., Tcuru-du, blindness, 
adjectival form of the same, kuru-ttu, blind ; ira-ndu, two, adjectival 
form, ira-ttu, double. Telugu hardens, but does not double, the 
final d of such nouns — e.g., 6d-u, a leak, 6ti, leaky. In some instances 
in Tamil the hard rough r, when used as a final, seems to be equiva- 
lent to du, or du, and is doubled and pronounced with a t — e.g., 
Hna-Tu, a well, Mna-rru (pronounced Tcinattru), of a well. 

(4.) hu or mbu, with its transitive ppu. — In Canarese, hu, the 

100 BOOTS. 

original form of this intransitive suffix, has been softened into vii, and 
in Tamil, h^o has universally been euphonised into mhu. This Tamilian 
formative mhu is in some instances softened in Telugu nouns into mu. 
The hu ox mhu of Tamil verbs is superseded by vu or gu in Telugu ; 
and the forms answering to the Tamil transitive ppu are pu and mpu, 
rarely pp^i. Example of the use of this formative by a. verb : nira- 
mbu, Tam. to be full, nira-ppu, to fill; of which the crude base nir 
reappears in the related verbs nir-a, nir-avu, nir-ei, and mr-et, to be 
full, to be level, &c. Telugu has nindu instead of niramhu; but 
the transitive nimpu answers very nearly to the Tamil nirappu. 
Example of a noun in mhu and ppu: iru-mhu, Tam. iron, adjectival 
form, iru-ppic, of iron — e.g., iruppu-(k)k6l, an iron rod. In Telugu 
irumhu is softened into inumu, adjectival form inupa. Canarese 
still adheres to the original form of this suffix, generally softening h into 
2;, but leaving it always unnasalised — e.g., Canarese hdvu, a snake, 
properly 2^dvu: Tamil pdmhu, nasalised from pdhu; adjectival form 
pdppu — e.g., pdppu-{k)kodi, the serpent banner : Telugu, still further 
altered, pdmu. This example clearly illustrates the progressive 
euphonisation of the formative in question. 

It has been mentioned that Telugu uses pu or mpu as a forma- 
tive of transitive verbs where Tamil uses ppu. It should be 
added that even in those cases where Tamil uses the other form^a- 
tives previously noticed, viz., kku and ttu, Telugu often prefers p)'^' 
Compare the following infinitives in Tamil and in Telugu — e.g., meykka, 
Tam. to feed cattle, mepa, Tel. ; nirutta, Tam. to establish, nilupa, 
Tel. "Where kku in Tamil, and pu in Telugu, are preceded by i, this 
formative becomes in Telugu either mpu or nchu — e.g., compare oppuvi- 
kka, Tamil, to deliver over, with the corresponding Telugu infinitive, 
oppagi-mpa, or oppagi-ncha. 

It appears from the various particulars now mentioned, that tran- 
sitive verbs and nouns used adjectivally must have been regarded by 
the primitive Tamilians as possessing some quality in common. The 
common feature possessed by each is doubtless the quality of transi- 
tion ; for it is evident that when nouns are used adjectivally there is a 
transition of the quality or act denoted by the adjectival noun to the 
noun substantive to which it is prefixed, which corresponds to the 
transition of the action denoted by the transitive verb to the accusative 
which it governs. 

It is manifest that the various particles which are used as formatives 
do not essentially differ from one another either in signification, in the 
purpose for which they are used, in the manner in which they are 


affixed, or in the manner in which they are doubled and hardened. It 
seems to have been euphony only that determined which of the sonants 
g, S, d, dj or 6, should be suffixed as a formative to any particular verb 
or noun. The only particular in which a grammatical principle appears 
to exist, is the doubling of the initial consonant of the formative, 
to denote or correspond with the putting forth of energy, which is 
inherent in the idea of active or transitive verbs, as distinguished 
from intransitives. 

Whilst the use of these formatives appears to have originated mainly 
in considerations of euphony, Dr Gundert thinks that in some instances 
traces of a frequentative meaning may be discovered. He adduces 
minvMgUf to glitter, from min, to shine. This instance seems to carry 
weight. The other instances adduced by him, such as velu-velulcka, 
are properly infinitives of iterative, mimetic verbs. 

From the statements and examples given above, it may be concluded 
that wherever Dravidian verbs or nouns are found to terminate in any 
of the syllables referred to, there is reason to suspect that the first 
part of the word alone constitutes or contains the] root. The final 
syllables gu, ngu, kku; sw, cku; du, ndu, ttu; du, ndu, ttu; hu, mbu> 
mpu, pu, ppu ; mu, vu, may as a general rule be rejected as formative 
additions. This rule will be found on examination to throw unex- 
pected light on the derivation and relationship of many nouns which 
are commonly supposed to be primitive and independent, but which, 
when the syllables referred to above are rejected, are found to be 
derived from or allied to verbal roots which are still in use. I adduce, 
as examples, the following Tamil words : — Tcombu, a branch, a twig ; 
vembuy the margosa-tree j vambu, abuse ; pdmbu, a snake. As soon as 
the formative final, mbu, is rejected, the verbs from which these nouns 
are derived are brought to light. Thus, ko-mbu, a twig, is plainly 
derived from Jco-^, to pluck off, to cut ; ve-mbu, the margosa-tree, is 
from ve-1/, to screen or shade (the shade of this tree being peculiarly 
prized) ; va-mbu, abuse, is from vei, properly va-'^ (corresponding to the 
Canarese bayyu\ to revile ; pd-mbuy a snake, is from pd-y, to spring. 
In these instances, the verbal base which is now in use ends in ?/, a 
merely euphonic addition, which does not belong to the root, and 
which disappears in the derivatives before the consonants which are 
added as formatives. The same principle applied to nouns ending in 
the other formative syllables will be found to yield similar results — 
e.g., marunda, a medical drug, from maru, to be fragrant; and 
hirangu, a root, from kir, to be beneath, the i of which, though long 
in the Tamil ktr, is short in the Telugu kinda, below. 

102 ROOTS. 

Keduplication of the Final Consonant of the Koot. — The 
principle of employing reduplication as a means of producing gramma- 
tical expression is recognised by the Dravidian languages as well as 
by those of the Indo-European family, though the mode in which the 
reduplication is effected and the objects in view are different. It is in 
Tamil that this reduplication is most distinctly apparent, and it should 
here be borne in mind, that when a Tamil consonant is doubled it is 
changed from a sonant into a surd. The final consonant of a Tamil 
root is doubled — (1.) for the purpose of changing a noun into an 
adjective, showing that it qualifies another noun, or of putting it in the 
genitive case — e.y., from rnddu, an ox, is formed mdtt-u{t)tdl, ox-hide; 
(2. ) for the purpose of converting an intransitive or neuter verb into a 
transitive — e.g., from 6d-u, to run, is formed ottu, to drive ; (3.) for 
the purpose of forming the preterite — e.g., tag-u, to be fit, takk-a, that 
was fit ; and (4.) for the purpose of forming derivative nouns from 
verbal themes — e.g, from erud-u, to write, is formed erutt-u, a letter. 
(See this subject further elucidated in the sections on " The Noun " 
and " The Verb.") It is remarkable that whilst the Indo-European 
tongues often mark the past tense by the reduplication of the first 
syllable, it is by the reduplication of the last letter that the Dravidian 
languages effect this purpose ; and also, that whilst the Tibetan con- 
verts a noun into a verb by doubling the last consonant, this should be 
a Dravidian method of converting a verb into a noun. The rationale 
of the Dravidian reduplication seems to be, that it was felt to be a 
natural way to express the idea of transition both in the act and in the 
result. In Hebrew also the doubling of a consonant is intensitive or 

Up to this point it has been found that all Dravidian polysyllabic 
roots are traceable to a monosyllabic base, lengthened either by 
euphonic additions, or by the addition of formative particles. An 
important class of dissyllabic bases remains, of which the second 
syllable, whatever may have been its origin, is an inseparable particle 
of specialisation, into the nature and use of which we shall now inquire. 

Particles of Specialisation, — The verbs and nouns belonging to 
the class of bases which are now under consideration, consist of a 
monosyllabic root or stem, containing the generic signification, and a 
second syllable, originally perhaps a formative addition, or perhaps the 
fragment of a lost root or lost postposition, by which the generic 
meaning of the stem is in some manner modified. The second syllable 
appears sometimes to expand and sometimes to restrict the significa- 
tion, but in some instances, through the absence of synonyms, its force 


cannot now be ascertained. As this syllable is intended in some 
manner to specialise the meaning of the root, I call it " the particle of 
specialisation." It is certain in some cases, probable in many, that 
these particles of specialisation were originally formatives of verbal 
nouns. This will appear from a comparison of the verbs and nouns 
contained in the list of final particles which will be found near the end 
of this section. 

The principle involved in the use of these particles of specialisation, 
and the manner in which it is carried into effect, correspond in a cer- 
tain degree to a characteristic feature of the Semitic languages, which 
it appears to be desirable to notice here. As far back as the separate 
existence of the Semitic family of languages can be traced, every root 
is found to consist of two syllables, comprising generally three conson- 
ants. When Semitic biliteral roots are compared with their synonyms, 
or corresponding roots, in the Indo-European languages, and especially 
with those which are found in Sanskrit, a simpler and more primitive 
root-system has been brought to light. It has been ascertained in a 
considerable number of instances that whilst the first syllable of the 
Hebrew root corresponds with Sanskrit, the second syllable does 
not in any manner correspond to any Indo-European synonym. It is 
found also that the second syllable has not any essential connection 
with the first, and that a considerable number of families of roots exist 
in which the first syllable is the same in each case, whilst the second 
continually varies. It is therefore inferred that in such cases the first 
syllable alone (comprising two consonants, the initial and the final, 
together with the vowel used for enunciation) contains the radical base 
and generic signification, and that the second syllable, perhaps the 
fragment of an obsolete auxiliary verb, has been appended to the first 
and afterwards compounded with it, for the purpose of giving the 
generic signification a specific and definite direction. According to 
this view, which appears to be in the main correct, Hebrew roots are 
to be regarded, not singly and separately, as independent monads, but 
as arranged generically in clusters or groups, exhibiting general resem- 
blances and special differences. The family likeness resides in the first 
syllable, the radical base ; the individuality, or special peculiarity, in 
the second, the particle of specialisation. 

It is true that in some instances the second syllable of Semitic roots 
meets with its counterpart in the Indo-European languages, as well as 
the first, or even instead of the first ; but the peculiar rule or law now 
referred to is found to pervade so large a portion of the Hebrew roots, 
that it justly claims to be considered as a characteristic of the language. 
Thus, there is a family of Hebrew roots signifying generally to divide, 

104 ROOTS. 

to cleave, to separate, &c. The members of this family are 
jpdlah, pdlag,pdld, pdlal; and also (through the dialectic interchange 
of I with r) pdrash, pdras, Chaldee peras. It cannot be doubted that 
in all these instances the first syllable pdl or par, or rather p-r, p-l (for 
the vowel belongs not to the root, but to the grammatical relation), 
expresses merely the general idea of division; whilst the second 
syllable (which is in some instances a reduplication of the final con- 
sonant of the biliteral) expresses, or is supposed to express, the parti- 
cular mode in which the division or partition is effected. The first 
syllable, which is the same in all the members of this group of roots, 
is that which is to be compared with synonyms in other languages, 
whilst the second syllable is merely modal. In this instance we not 
only observe a distinct analogy between the Hebrew roots p-r, p-l, and 
the Greek 'tto^-u, the Latin pars, par-tis, and the Sanskrit phaU to 
divide, but we also discover the existence of an analogy with the Dra- 
vidian languages. Compare with the Hebrew p-r, p-l, the Tamil piri, 
to divide, and pdl, a part ; pila^ and por, to cleave ; as also pagir and 
pagu, to portion out, to divide. See also the " Glossarial Affinities." 

On turning our attention to the root-system of the Dravidian lan- 
guages, we are struck with the resemblance which it bears to the 
Semitic root-system referred to above. We find in these languages 
groups of related roots, the first syllables of which are nearly or wholly 
identical, whilst their second syllables are different in each instance, 
and in consequence of this difference produce the required degree of 
diversity in the signification of each member of the group. We also 
find in these languages, as in Hebrew, that the generic particle or 
common base, and the added particle of specialisation, are so conjoined 
as to become one indivisible etymon. The specialising particle, which 
was probably a separable suffix, formative, or postposition at first, has 
become by degrees a component part of the word ; and this word, so 
compounded, constitutes the base to which all formatives, properly so 
called, and all inflexional particles are appended. 

This root-system exists in all the languages of the Dravidian family, 
but its nature and peculiarities are especially apparent in Tamil. Out 
of many such groups of related Tamil roots, I select as illustrations 
two groups which commence with the first letter of the alphabet. 

1. Roots which radiate from the base syllable ad: — 

adu to come near ; also to cook, to kill, to unite, to belong to. 

\ 7 f > to be contained, to enclose. 

adi to drive in, commonly to beat, adi, as a noun, the basis 

of any thing, a footstep, a sole. 


adei to attain, to get in, to roost; transitive, to enclose. 

adeisu to stuff in. 

adar to be close together, to be crowded, to join battle. 

adukku to place one thing upon another, to pile up. This verb and 
adalchu are properly aduk and adah, but final h in Tamil 
is always vocalised by the help of u, and often doubled, 
as in this instance, before receiving the u and a of the 

andu (Tel. antu)^ to approach. This verb seems to be identical 
with adu, the first in the list, and euphonised from it 
by the insertion of the nasal. Compare also the related 
verb an. 

It is obvious that all these roots are pervaded by a family resem- 
blance. All contain the generic notion of nearness, expressed by the 
first or base syllable ad ; whilst each, by means of the second syllable, 
or particle of specialisation, denotes some particular species of nearness. 

2. Koots which radiate from the base syllable an : — 

anu, anugu to approach, to touch. 

ani to put on, to wear. 

anei to connect, to embrace ; as a noun, a weir, a dam. 

anavu to cleave to. 

annu to resort to, to lean upon. (From this verb is derived 

annal or annan, an elder brother, one to lean upon, a 
derivation which has at least the merit of being poet- 
ical). The corresponding Telugu verb is dnuta. 

anmu to be near. 

The generic idea signified by the base syllable an is evidently that 
of contact ; and this group differs from the previous one as actual 
contact differs from contiguity or nearness. Probably dni, a nail, a 
fastening, is derived from the same verb, and it appears probable also 
that this is the origin of the Sanskrit ani or dni^ the pin of an axle. 

The illustrations given above prove, that the second syllables of the 
various verbs now adduced have not been added merely for purposes 
of euphony, but have been appended in order to expand, to restrict, or 
in some manner to modify and specialise the signification. It was 
shown in a previous part of this section, that the vowels a, z, u, e, and 
ei are sometimes added euphonically to monosyllabic roots. It is 
obvious, however, that this is not the only purpose for which those 
vowel additions are used ; and it is of importance to know that when 
they are merely euphonic they are found to be interchangeable with 
other vowels, whereas when they are used as particles of specialisation 
they retain their individual character more firmly. Probably they had 
all a specialising signification at first, which they retain in some in- 
stances, but have lost in others. 

106 ROOTS. 

The examples already given may suffice to illustrate the use of 
appended voioels as specialising particles. Syllables ending in conson- 
ants, especially in I and r, are also used very frequently for this pur- 
pose ; and it seems desirable here to adduce examples of the use of 
particles of this class. As has already been observed in connection 
with " Formative Additions to Boots," all these syllables seem to have 
been originally formatives of verbal nouns, probably each of them with 
a specialising signification. Many of the verbal nouns so formed have 
then become secondary verbal themes. The following examples are 
mostly from Tamil, in which I and r may stand as finals. The other 
-dialects add u to the final consonant of each of these particles. Tamil 
requires this euphonic addition of u only when a word ends in the hard, 
rough r, or in any consonant besides the nasals and semi-vowels. 

Each word being considered either as a verb or as a noun according 
to circumstances, I give examples of nouns as well as of verbs. Some 
of the following words, though used as verbs, are more commonly used 
as nouns, and some, though used as nouns, are more commonly used as 
verbs. Some of the examples, again, are used either as nouns only or 
as verbs only : — 

:nal Particles. 




volar, to grow. 

sudar, lustre. 


tulir, to sprout. 

ugir, a finger nail. 


nudur-i(, Tel. the forehead. 


pugar, to praise. 

idar, a flower petal. 


magir, to rejoice. 

avir, a grain of rice. 


idar-u, to trip. 

MnaT-Uy a well. 


ndyiv-u, the sun. 


sural, to whirl. 

iral, the liver. 


kuyil, to utter a sound. 

veyil, sunshine. 


pagul-u, Tel. to break. 


tuval, to bend. 

tingal, the moon. 


madil, a fort wall. 


u7mL to roll. 

irul, darkness. 

Of all the thirteen specialising particles ending in consonants of 
which examples have now been adduced, only one appears occasionally 
to be used as an equivalent for a vowel addition : ar alternates with 
ei — e.g.f amar, Tam. to rest, and amei, are apparently equivalent. 
The verb to grow, also, is in Tamil valar, and in Canarese bale, which 
in Tamil would be valei. 

The original meaning of most of the particles used as formative 
suffixes or particles of specialisation, is now unknown, but there are two 
of which the meaning appears nearly certain ; these are il, which survives 
as a substantive, meaning here or a house, the particle used as the most 


common case sign of the locative in Tamil-MalayMam, and ul, which is 
still used both as a noun and as a verb ; as a noun meaning within, 
. and as a verb, to be. The force of these particles and their retention 
of the locative signification will appear in such instances as vdi/il, a 
doorway, literally the mouth house (from vd^, mouth) ; ve7/il, the heat 
of the sun, literally, that in which heat resides (from vey, to be hot). 
Dr Gundert suggests also ]oorul, wealth, which may come from por2i, 
to unite ; arul, grace, from aru, to be scarce, precious ; and irul, dark- 
ness, from ir, to be dark, the root of ird, night. 

I here subjoin an example of another peculiar and interesting set of 
groups of roots found in the Dravidian languages, which are formed 
upon a plan differing considerably from that which has now been ex- 
plained. The roots referred to are dissyllabic, but they contain only one 
consonant, which is preceded and followed by a vowel. This conson- 
ant appears to represent the ultimate or radical base, whilst the initial 
and final vowels alter in accordance with the particular shade of signi- 
fication which it is desired to convey. When we compare idit, Tam. 
to press or crush, odu, to squeeze^ to bring into a smaller compass, and 
idi, to bruise, to beat down, as also adi, to drive in, or odi, to break 
in two, and tidei (pronounced odei), to break open ; we cannot avoid 
the conclusion that the first four roots are closely related members of 
the same family or group ; that the last two are in like manner 
mutually related ; and that possibly the whole of them have an 
ulterior relationship, in virtue of their possessing in common the same 
nucleus or radical base, the central consonant d, and the same generic 

The existence of clusters of roots, like these mentioned above, is not 
a peculiarity of the Dravidian languages alone. Max Miiller (Lec- 
tures, ii. 313) observes, "We find in Sanskrit and in all the Aryan 
languages clusters of roots, expressive of one common idea, and differing 
from each other merely by one or two additional letters, either at the 
end or at the beginning." In illustration of this he says, " To go, 
would be expressed by sar, to creep by ^arp; to shout by nad, to 
rejoice by nand ; to join by yu or yuj, to glue together by yaut.^^ In 
another place (i. 274) he says, " In the secondary roots we can gener- 
ally observe that one of the consonants, in the Aryan languages 
generally the final, is liable to modification. The root retains its 
general meaning, which is slightly modified and determined by the 
changes of the final consonants." " These secondary roots," he says, 
" stand to the primaries in about the same relation as the triliteral 
Semitic roots to the more^ primitive biliteral." In the Dravidian 
languages the change under consideration is as often in the vowel of 

108 BOOTS. 

the root as in the consonant, and it is hard to say whether the initial 
vowel is not even more subject to modification than the final 

Changes in Root Vowels. — As a general rule the vowels of Dra- 
vidian roots belong as essentially to the radical base as the consonants. 
They very rarely pertain, as in the Semitic languages, to the system of 
means by which grammatical relations are expressed, and they are still 
more rarely modified, as in the Indo-European languages, by the 
addition of inflexional forms, or in composition. 

In the Semitic languages the radical base is destitute of vowels, and 
by itself unpronounceable. The insertion of vowels not only vocalises 
the consonants of the root, but constitutes it a grammatically inflected 
verb or noun, the signification of which varies with the variation of 
the interior vowels. In the Indo-European languages grammatical 
modifications are generally produced by additions to the root ; and 
though in the earliest period of the history of those languages, the 
root, generally monosyllabic, is supposed to have remained unaltered by 
additions and combinations, yet the existence of that rigidity is scarcely 
capable of direct proof ; for on examining the Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, 
and German, the most faithful representatives of the early condition 
of those languages, we find that the root-vowels of a large proportion 
of the words have been modified by the addition of the suffixes of case 
and tense ; and in particular, that the reduplication of the root, by 
which the past tense appears usually to have been formed, is often 
found either to alter the quantity of the root-vowel, to change one 
vowel into another, or entirely to expunge it. 

In the Scythian family of tongues, not only does the vowel belong 
essentially to the root, but in general it remains unalterable. It very 
rarely happens that the root-vowel sustains any change or modification 
on the addition to the root of the signs of gender, number, and case, 
or of person, tense, and mood ; which, as a rule, are successively agglu- 
tinated to the root, not welded into combination with it. This 
rigidity or persistency is almost equally characteristic of the root- 
vowels of the Dravidian languages. In general, whatever be the length 
or weight of the additions made to a Dravidian root, and whether it 
stands alone or is combined with other words in a construct state, it is 
represented as fully and faithfully in the oblique cases as in the nomi- 
native, in the preterite and future as in the present tense or in the 
imperative. I proceed to point out some noticeable exceptions to this 

Exceptions. — Internal Changes in Roots. 


1. One class of changes is purely euphonic. It has no relation to 
grammatical expression ; but it seems desirable to mention it here in 
order to give a complete view of the subject. It is connected with 
one of the minor dialectic peculiarities referred to in the chapter on 
sounds, and consists in the occasional softening or rejection of the 
medial consonant of a dissyllabic root or verbal noun, together with 
the coalescence of the vowels that preceded and followed it. It has 
been shown that g has a tendency to be softened into v and then to 
disappear, and that s sometimes changes in the same manner into y, 
when it sometimes becomes absorbed. When either of these conson- 
ants is a medial, it is apt to be thus softened down and rejected. 
Thus dogal-u, Can. skin, becomes in Tamil tdl; pesar, Can. a name, 
becomes in Tamil first peyar, and then per. So in Tamil, togup-pu, a 
collection, is softened into tdp-pu, which has the restricted meaning of 
a collection of trees, a tope. In like manner the medial v of the Tamil 
avan, he, disappears in the personal terminations of verbs, and the 
preceding and following vowels coalesce, when avan becomes dn or 6n. 
So also the length of the demonstrative roots, a remote, and i proxi- 

•mate, varies in different dialects, and even in different connections in 
the same dialect, through considerations of euphony. 

2. The exceptions that follow in this and the following paragraphs 
are not euphonic merely, but real. They pertain to grammatical 
expression. In most of the Dravidian languages the quantity of the 
root-vowels of the pronouns of the first and second persons, both sin- 
gular and plural, is short in the oblique cases. The nominatives of 
those pronouns are long — e.g., ndn, Tamil, I, ndm, we ; ni, thou, ntr, 
you. But in Tamil, Canarese, Malay^lam, and Tulu, in all the oblique 
cases the vowels are shortened before receiving the sufiixed inflexional 
particles. Thus, in Canarese, to me is not ndn-a-ge, but ndn-a-ge ; to 
thee is not nin-a-ge, but nin-a-ge. Telugu, Gond, and Ku generally 
retain the quantity of the vowel of the nominative unaltered — e.g., in 
Telugu we find ni-hu., to thee, as well as nt, thou ; but in the accusa- 
tive, nin-u or ninn-u, thee, the quantity is altered. It is open to us to 
regard the shorter form of the pronouns as the original, and the longer 
as the form that has been altered ; and it will be seen, when the pro- 
nouns are under discussion, that this is the view I prefer. Singularly 
enough, this exception from the general rigidity of the root-vowels is 
a Scythian exception, as well as a Dravidian one. In the Scythian 
version of the Behistun tablets, whilst the nominative of the pronoun 
of the second person is ?^^, thou, as in the Dravidian languages, the 
possessive case is ui, thy, ^nd the accusative nin, thee, corresponding 
in quantity to the Dravidian oblique cases — e.g., Telugu nin-u, thee ; 

110 Hoots. 

Tulu nin-ay thy, nin-an^ thee ; High Tamil nin, thy, and nlnnei, 

3. Another class of exceptions consists of instances in which the 
quantity of a vowel is lengthened when a verbal root is formed, directly 
and without any extraneous addition, into a noun. The alteration 
which the root-vowel sustains is prior to any inflexional additions 
being made. If any formative particle is added to a verbal root to 
convert it into a noun, the quantity of the root-vowel remains un- 
changed. The lengthening of the root-vowel to which I refer takes 
place only in (some of) those cases in which the verbal base itself is 
used as a noun. Thus, the verb Jced-u, to destroy or to become 
destroyed, may become a verbal noun by the addition of the formative 
di — e.g. J kedudi, destruction, in which event the root- vowel remains 
unaltered ; but the verbal base may also be used without addition as a 
verbal noun, in which case Jced-u is lengthened into Tced-u. 

The following Tamil examples of the lengthening of each of the five 
primary vowels will suffice to illustrate this usage : — 

From pad-u, to suffer, is formed pdd-u, a suffering ; from min, to 
shine, min, a star ; from sud-u, to burn, sUd-u, heat ; from per-u, to 
obtain, per-u, a benefit obtained j and from kol, to receive, kol, 

I am not aware of the existence of a similar rule in any of the 
Scythian languages, but it is well known in Sanskrit (e.g., compare 
vach, to speak, with vdch, a word ; mar (mri), to die, with mdra, 
death). Nevertheless, I can scarcely think it likely that it is from 
Sanskrit that the Dravidian languages have derived a usage which 
prevails among them to so great an extent, and which has every appear- 
ance of being an original feature of their own. If it is not to be 
regarded as an independently developed peculiarity, arising out of the 
same mental and lingual habitudes as those out of which the cor- 
responding Sanskrit usage was developed, it is probably to be regarded 
as a relic of those pre- Sanskrit influences of which many traces seem to 
be discoverable in these languages. In one particular the Dravidian rule 
differs from the Sanskrit. In Sanskrit the root-vowel is often not only 
lengthened, but changed, according to certain rules, into another — e.g., 
from vid, to know, comes veda, knowledge, the Veda ; whereas in the 
Dravidian languages the rule is that the root- vowel is simply length- 
ened — e.g., from vid-u, Tam. to set free, comes vid-u, emancipation, a 
house (meaning probably a tax-free tenement). 

Dr Gundert derives ver, Tam. a root, from vir, the radical part of 
viri, to expand (compare viral, a finger). If this derivation be accepted 
as correct, as I think it may, it will furnish an instance of the opera- 


tion of tlie Sanskrit law in question. Another derivation which I 
regard as still more probable is that of ner, Tara. straight, from mVa, 
to be level. These very rare exceptions, however, do not nullify the 

I must here notice a class of verbal nouns formed after this manner 
which are much used adjectivally. All Dravidian adjectives, gramma- 
tically considered, are nou-ns, but some of them are used indiscrimi- 
nately either as nouns or as adjectives ; some exclusively as adjectives, 
some exclusively as nouns. The three adjectives ^er, large, Mr, black, 
and dr, precious, furnish good illustrations of the class of verbal nouns 
to which I refer, 'per and dr are used exclusively as adjectives, Icur 
both as an adjective and as a noun. As an adjective it means black, 
as a noun, blackness, a cloud, the rainy season, &c. The radical forms 
of these words are also in use. These are ^ler-u, to be large, kar-u, to 
be black, and ar-u, to be precious. The final u is, as usual, merely 
enunciative ; the roots are per, Tear, and ar. When we find a Dra- 
vidian root in two shapes, one with a longer, the other with a shorter 
vowel, it may generally be assumed, and can often be proved, that the 
shorter form is the radical one. Where both forms are in use, as in the 
case of these three words, the longer form is considered more elegant, 
and is much used in combinations, especially before words beginning 
with a vowel. It is to the shorter and probably more ancient form 
that mei, the formative of abstract nouns, like our English nouns end- 
ing in neas, is suffixed — e.g., aru-mei, preciousness. The same change 
in the internal vowel of the root is apparent in some of the numerals. 
The radical forms of the Tamil numerals one and two seem to be or and 
ir, and these are often lengthened, when the numeral is used not as a 
substantive but as an adjective, into 6r and tr. There are also two 
forms of the numerals three, six, and seven {mu and mH, aru and dru, 
eru and erii), biit in these instances it is the shorter forms that are 
used adjectivally. These shorter forms cannot stand alone, they can 
be used only as adjectives, whereas the longer ones are used as numeral 
substantives. The formation of verbal nouns by means of the length- 
ening of the root- vowel throws as much light on the original meaning 
of some adjectives, or nouns of quality, as we have seen that it does 
(in the previous part of this section) in the case of certain nouns exclu- 
sively used as substantives. For instance, pdr (Tam.) desolate, is 
evidently a verbal noun from par-u, to grow old. To grow mature or 
ripe is a secondary meaning, from which we have param, a ripe fruit. 
Another form used adjectivally is para, old. A verb of the secondary 
formation is paragu, to be(jpme used to anything. 

When the final consonant of the crude root belongs to this class of 

112 EOOTS. 

hard letters, it cannot be enunciated by Dravidian organs, whether the 
preceding vowel be long or short, without the aid of a final euphonic 
u. Thus pasu, Tarn, to be green, when lengthened becomes, not pds 
(as per J kdr^ &c.), but pdsu, green. A change sometimes takes place in 
the internal vowel of this word which has been supposed to accord 
with the Sanskrit change of a short vowel into a longer one of a 
different order, and of a naturally long vowel into a diphthong, on the 
change of a noun or verbal-root into an adjective, pasum, green 
(another form of paiu), is changed in certain conjunctions into peim — 
e.g.y peim-pon (Tam.) excellent, literally green, gold. This change, 
however, is merely euphonic. It has already been shown that s, when 
medial, has a tendency to soften into y, and then to disappear, and 
when this takes place the preceding and following vowels coalesce. In 
consequence of this tendency, pasum naturally becomes payum, and 
this again, by a change which is almost imperceptible in pronunciation, 
peim. We have a parallel instance of this in the noun Tcasuppu (Tam.), 
bitterness, which may optionally be written and pronounced Iceippu; 
kaiuppu changing first into kayuppu and then into Iceippu. It should 
also be observed that peim has not in the least superseded pasum. The 
one may be optionally used instead of the other, and this proves that 
both forms are grammatically equivalent. I should be prepared to 
admit that in these and similar instances y may possibly be older than 
L The process, on this supposition, would have to be reversed ; pei^ 
properly payu^ would become pasu, but the result would be the same. 
The change in the internal vowel would still be owing merely to the 
euphonic substitution of one consonant for another. 

I may here remark that forms like pasum, green, do not appear to 
me to be derived, as Beschi, following native grammarians, supposed, 
from pasumei, greenness, by the omission of the final ei ; for mei, not 
e^, is the particle by which abstract nouns of quality are formed, and 
the initial m is the most essential portion of that particle. Pasum is 
evidently derived from pa^, the crude verbal root, with the addition of 
um, the sign of the aoristic future, by means of which it becomes an 
aoristic relative participle, a class of participles which the Dravidian 
tongues delight to use as adjectives. 

4. Another class of internal changes appears in those instances in 
which Tamil shortens the quantity of the root-vowel in the pre- 
terite tense of verbs. This shortening is observed in Canarese also, 
but the following illustrations are furnished by Tamil — e.g., ve, to burn, 
has for its preterite participle, not vendu, hut vendu; 7i6, to be in pain, 
has for its preterite, not ndndu, but nondu; Mn, to see, becomes, not 
hdnduy but Tcandu. Another instance is id, to die, which takes not 


sdttUf but ^ettu. The Malaydlam and Canarese form of this participle, 
^attu or cliattu, represents the root-vowel more accurately than the 
Tamil. In some instances Tamil retains in the preterite the long 
vowel of the root, whilst Canarese shortens it — e.g., i, to give, has for 
its preterite in Tamil tndu, in Canarese ittu. 

There are two verbs in Tamil, vd, to come, and td, to give, which 
involve peculiarities of which it is difficult to give a satisfactory expla- 
nation. Each of them is regularly conjugated, except in the preterite 
and imperative, as if from roots in var and tar (e.g., varugiren, I 
come, tarugiren, I give) ; each takes the root with the long vowel without 
r for its imperative singular, and inserts r between this form of the 
root and the personal termination in the imperative plural (e.g., vd, 
come, td, give ; vdrum, come ye, tdrum, give ye) ; and each forms its 
preterite by shortening the vowel without inserting r, as if from roots 
in vd and td, after the manner described in the previous paragraph 
(e.g., vanden, I came, tanden, I gave, like nonden, I felt pain, from the 
root no). Dr Pope, in his " Tamil Handbook," p. 62, considers the 
r of these verbs euphonically inserted to prevent hiatus and the whole 
of the tenses built upon the roots in vd and td. I should have no 
objection to this view if the r made its appearance in the plural im- 
perative only, as in kdrum, protect ye, from kd, to protect, the only other 
instance I know of r being used for this purpose in Tamil, and one which 
I have already mentioned in the chapter on " Prevention of Hiatus." 
On the other hand, the appearance of the roots in var and tar, in every 
part of the verb, except the preterite and the singular imperative alone, 
and in all the verbal nouns without exception (e.g., var at, varattu, 
varuttu, varudal, varavu, varugei, each of them meaning a coming), 
leads to the conclusion that var and tar (whatever be the origin of 
their difference from vd and to) are treated in Tamil as verbal themes. 
If r were not a portion of the root, we should expect to find the pre- 
sent, future, infinitive, negative voice, verbal nouns, &c., formed from 
vd and td, with the addition of ^ or v as a formative suffix, as we find 
to be the case with the parallel verbs nt, <fec. Compare ntga, infinitive ; 
nbvu, nddal, kc, verbal nouns ; nogd, negative. The Canarese roots 
are har and tar. In Telugu the imperative singular is vd, the plural 
rammu, and this seems to me to confirm the supposition that r is an 
essential part of the root. If the Telugu r represented only the sup- 
posed euphonic r of the Tamil, the root-consonant would be left 
without any representative at all. It appears to me improbable, 
moreover, because unsupported by usage, that the Tamil v has been 
changed into r in Telugu. it seems more in accordance with usage 
to recognise here a change similar to that which has converted the 

114 ROOTS. 

Tamil iladu, there is not, into ledu in Telugu, and ird, night, into re. 
See the chapter on " Euphonic Displacement of Vowels." Notwith- 
standing this, I am not disposed to regard the forms in vd and td as 
having found their way into the conjugation of the verbs by mistake. 
It is evident that vd and td, not var and tar, are the themes from 
which the preterites vanden and tandeii have been formed, and which 
we find pure in the imperatives. We seem therefore driven to adopt 
Dr Gundert's suggestion, that vd and var, and td and tar, are alterna- 
tive roots — perhaps it would be preferable to say, different forms of 
the same root. This supposition need not be relinquished in conse- 
quence of its being regarded as probable that td is identical with the 
Indo-European root dd, to give. The Dravidian tar may have sprung 
from a related form of the same root, of which possibly a trace may 
survive in the Greek bci^ov and the Hebrew tan. I may add that 
though the change in the length of the vowel in the preterite has a 
grammatical significance, its change of length in the imperative, from 
rd, Tel. singular, to rammUj honorific singular (plural), and from vd, 
Tam. singular, to High Tam. vammin, plural, appears to be purely 

The changes in the internal vowels of Dravidian roots exhibited in the 
last three classes of instances mentioned in this section as exceptions 
to the ordinary stability of the Dravidian root- vowels, evidently accord, 
as far as they go, with usages prevalent in the Indo-European lan- 
guages, inasmuch as one of the classes referred to furnishes us with 
instances of the lengthening of the root-vowel, when the verb is con- 
verted into a noun, whilst the other classes furnish us with examples 
of the shortening of the interior vowels of the root on receiving the 
addition of inflexional particles, to compensate for the additional 
weight thus imposed on the root-vowel, or for the purpose of distin- 
guishing one tense from another. In regard, however, to changes in 
root-vowels, it would be erroneous to suppose the rule of the Scythian 
languages essentially and universally dissimilar to the Indo-European. 
In the Scythian languages, as in the Dravidian, stability in the root- 
vowels is the rule, change the exception. But exceptions exist (e.g., 
compare olen, Finnish, I am, from the root ol, to be, with lienen, if I 
be ; compare also Hungarian leven, from the same root, being, with 
volt, having been, and lenni, to be). In consequence of the existence 
of such exceptions as these, it is impossible to erect the difierence 
between the two families of language, in this particular, into a hard 
and fast law of distinction. It would also be unsafe on this ground 
alone, to disconnect the Dravidian languages from the languages of the 
Scythian group and to connect them with the Indo-European. 

GENDER. 115 



In this section it will be my endeavour to investigate the nature and 
affections of the Dravidian noun, with the view of ascertaining its 
method of expressing the relations of gender and number, and the 
principles on which that method proceeds, together with the character- 
istics and origin of its case system, or system of means for expressing 
the relationship of nouns with other p^rts of speech. It will be shown 
at the close of the section on " The Verb," how derivative nouns are 
formed from verbal roots ; and the various classes of participial nouns 
will then also be investigated. 


1. Gender. 

When the Indo-European laws of gender are compared with those 
of the Scythian group of tongues, it will appear that in this point, as 
in many others, the Dravidian languages accord more closely with the 
Scythian than with the Indo-European family. In all the more primi- 
tive Indo-European languages, not only are words that denote rational 
beings and living creatures regarded as masculine or feminine, accord- 
ing to the sex of the objects referred to, but also inanimate objects and 
even abstract ideas have similar sexual distinctions attributed to them ; 
so that many nouns which denote objects naturally destitute of gender, 
and which ought therefore to be regarded as neuters, are treated by 
the grammars of those languages as if the objects they denote were 
males and females, and are fitted not with neuter, but with masculine 
or feminine case terminations, and with pronouns of corresponding 
genders. This peculiar system is a proof of the highly imaginative 
and poetical character of the Indo-European mind, by which principles 
of resemblance were discerned in the midst of the greatest differences, 
and all things that exist we»e not only animated, but personified. It 
is from this personification that most of the ancient mythologies are 

116 THE NOUN. 

supposed to have arisen. A similar remark applies to the Semitic lan- 
guages also, in which the same or a similar usage respecting gender 
prevailed. In the progress of the corruption of the primitive Indo- 
European languages, a less imaginative but more natural usage gained 
ground. Nevertheless, in a majority of the modern colloquial dialects 
of this family, both in Europe and in India, the gender of nouns is 
still an important and difficult section of the grammar, and a stand- 
ing impediment in the way of the idiomatic use of those languages by 

On the other hand, in the Manchu, Mongolian, Turkish, and Finnish 
families of tongues — the principal families of the Scythian group — a 
law or usage respecting the gender of nouns universally prevails, which 
is generically different from that of the Indo-European and the Semitic 
idioms. In those families, not only are all things which are destitute 
of reason and life denoted by neuter nouns, but no nouns whatever — 
not even nouns which denote human beings — are regarded as in them- 
selves masculine or feminine.' All nouns, as such, are neuter, or 
rather are destitute of gender. In those languages there is no mark of 
gender inherent in, or inseparably annexed to, the nominative of any 
noun (the crude root being generally the nominative) ; and in none of 
the oblique cases, or postpositions used as case terminations, is the 
idea of gender at all involved. The unimaginative Scythians reduced 
all things, whether rational or irrational, animate or inanimate, to the 
same dead level, and regarded them all as impersonal. They prefixed 
to common nouns, wherever they found it necessary, some word denot- 
ing sex, equivalent to male or female, he or she ; but they invariably 
regarded such nouns as in themselves neuters, and generally they sup- 
plied them with neuter pronouns. The only exceptions to this rule in 
the Scythian languages consist in a few words, such as God, man, 
woman, husband, wife, which are so highly instinct with personality 
that of themselves, and without the addition of any word denoting sex, 
they necessarily convey the signification of masculine or feminine. 

When our attention is turned to the Dravidian languages we find 
that, whilst their rules respecting gender differ widely from those of 
the Indo-European group, they are not quite identical with those of the 
Scythian. It seems probable, however, that the particulars in which 
the Dravidian rules respecting gender differ from those of the Scythian 
languages, and evince a tendency in the Indo-European direction, are 
not the result of direct Sanskritic influences, of which no trace is per- 
ceptible in this department of Dravidian grammar, but have arisen 
either from the progressive mental cultivation of the Dravidians them- 
Belves, or from an inheritance of pre-Sanskritic elements. 

GENDER. 117 

Dravidian nouns are divided into two classes, which Tamil gram- 
marians denote by the technical terms of high-caste and casteless 
nouns, but which are called by Telugu grammarians mahdt, majors, 
and a-mahdt, minors. High-caste nouns, or majors, are those which 
denote " the celestial and infernal deities and human beings," or, 
briefly, all things endowed with reason; and in all the Dravidian 
dialects (with a peculiar exception which is found only in Telugu and 
Gond) nouns of this class are treated in the singular as masculines or 
feminines respectively, and in the plural as epicenes, that is, without 
distinguishing between masculines and feminines, but distinguishing both 
from the neuter. The other class of nouns, called casteless, or minors, 
includes everything which is destitute of reason, whether animate or 
inanimate. This classification of nouns, though not so imaginative as 
that of the Indo-European and Semitic tongues, is decidedly more 
philosophical j for the difference between rational beings and beings or 
things which are destitute of reason is more momentous and essential 
than any difference that exists between the sexes. The new Persian, 
which uses one pluralising particle for nouns that denote animated 
beings, and another and different one for things that are destitute of 
life, is the only non-Dravidian language in which nouns are classified 
in a manner which is in any degree similar to- the Dravidian system.* 
The peculiar Dravidian law of gender which has now been described 
would appear to be a result of progressive intellectual and grammatical 
cultivation ; for the masculine, feminine, and epicene suffixes which 
form the terminations of Dravidian high-caste nouns, are properly frag- 
ments of pronouns or demonstratives of the third person, as are also 
most of the neuter formatives. It may, indeed, be stated as a general 
rule that all primitive Dravidian nouns are destitute of gender, and 
that every noun or pronoun in which the idea of gender is formally 
expressed, being a compound word, is necessarily of later origin than 
the uncompounded primitives. The technical term by which such 
nouns are denoted by Tamil grammarians is pagu-padam, divisible 
words, i.e., compounds. Hence the poetical dialects, which retain 
many of the primitive landmarks, are fond of discarding the ordinary 
suffixes of gender or rationality, and treating all nouns as far as pos- 
sible as abstract neuters. Thus, in poetical Tamil Dev-u, God, a crude 

* This is not the only particular in which the Dravidian idiom attributes 
greater importance than the Indo-European to reason and the mind. We make 
our bodies the seat of personality. When we are suffering from any bodily ail- 
ment, we say " / am ill ; " whereas the Dravidians denote the mind — the con- 
scious sdf or dlman — when th^ say /, and therefore prefer to say, more philoso- 
phically, " my body is ill." 

118 THE NOUN. 

noun destitute of gender, is reckoned more classical than Dev-an, tlie 
corresponding masculine noun. This word is a Sanskrit derivative ; 
but the same tendency to fall back upon the old Scythian rule appears 
in the case of many other words which are primitive Dravidian nouns 
— e.g., irei, a king, a word which is destitute of gender, is more clas- 
sical than irei-(v)-an, the commoner form, which possesses the mascu- 
line singular termination. 

In the modern Tamil spoken by the educated classes, the words 
which denote sun and moon {silriy-an and sandir-an, derived from the 
Sanskrit sHrya and chandra) are of the masculine gender, in accord- 
ance with Sanskrit usage and with the principles of the Brahmanical 
mythology; but in the old Tamil of the poets and the peasants, 
ndyivu, the sun, ^l&o porudu, and tingal, the moon, also nild, all pure 
Dravidian words, are neuter. All true Dravidian names of towns, 
rivers, &c., are in like manner destitute of every mark of personality 
or gender. In some few instances Malayalam and Canarese retain 
the primitive laws of gender more faithfully than Tamil. Thus, 
in the Tamil word peiyan, a boy, we find the masculine singu- 
lar termination an; whereas Malayilam (with which agrees Canar- 
ese) uses the older word ptidal, a word (properly a verbal noun) 
which is destitute of gender, to which it prefixes in a thoroughly 
Scythian manner words that signify respectively male and female, to 
form compounds signifying boy and girl — e.g., an peidal, a boy, pen 
peidalj a girl. The nature and origin of the terminations which are 
used to signify gender in the various Dravidian dialects will be 
inquired into under the head of " Number," with the consideration 
of which this subject is inseparably connected. Under this head I 
restrict myself to a statement of the general principles respecting gender 
which characterise the Dravidian languages. 

A peculiarity of Telugu, which appears also in Gond, should here be 
mentioned. Whilst those dialects agree with the other members of the 
Dravidian family in regarding masculines and feminines, and both 
combined, as constituting in the plural a common or epicene gender, 
they differ from the other dialects in this respect that they are wholly 
or virtually destitute of a feminine singular, and instead of the femi- 
nine singular use the singular of the neuter. This rule includes in its 
operation pronouns and verbs as well as substantives, and applies to 
goddesses and queens, as well as to ordinary women. The Telugu 
possesses, it is true, a few forms which are appropriate to the feminine 
singular, but they are rarely used, and that only in certain rare com- 
binations and conjunctures. He and it are the only pronouns of the 
third person singular which are ordinarily made use of by fifteen 


millions of the Telugu people ; and the colloquial dialect does not even 
possess any pronoun, equivalent to our pronoun she, which is capable 
of being applied to women of the lower as well as of the higher classes. 
Ordinarily every woman is spoken of in Telugu as a chattel or a thing, 
or as we are accustomed to speak of very young children {e.g., it did 
so and so), apparently on the supposition either that women are desti- 
tute of reason, or that their reason, like that of infants, lies dormant. 
Whilst each woman taken singly is treated by Telugu grammar as a 
chattel or as a child, women taken collectively are regarded with as 
much respect as by the other Dravidian dialects. In the plural they 
are honoured with the same high-caste or rational suffixes and pronouns 
that are applied to men and gods. 

Canarese and Malay^lam agree in this point with Tamil, and regard 
women, not in the plural only but also in the singular, as pertaining 
to the class of rational s : accordingly in those languages there is a 
feminine singular pronoun equivalent to she, which corresponds in the 
principle of its formation to the masculine he. With those languages 
agrees Ku, which, though the near neighbour of Telugu and Gond, 
pursues in this respect a politer course than either. In the idioms 
of the Tudas and K6tas, the rude aborigines of the Nilgherry hills, 
there is, properly speaking, only one pronoun of the third person, 
and that is without distinction of gender or number, atham, remote, 
itham, proximate, mean indiscriminately he, she, it, they. The pro- 
nouns avan, aval, he, she, are also occasionally used, but Dr Pope 
thinks they have been recently introduced from the Tamil and Canar- 
ese. This usage reminds one of the employment in the old Hebrew 
of the same pronoun, hu, to signify both he and she, and still more of 
the use of the reflexive pronoun of the Latin se, for all genders and 
numbers. Compare ivuh, Hindustani, he, she. 

2. Number. 

The Dravidian languages recognise only two numbers, the singular 
and the plural. The dual, properly so called, is unknown, and there 
is no trace extant of its use at any previous period. Several of the 
languages of this family contain two plurals of the pronoun of the first 
person, one of which includes the party addressed as well as the party 
of the speaker, and which may therefore be considered as a species of 
dual, whilst the other excludes the party addressed. As, however, this 
peculiarity is restricted to the personal pronouns, it will be examined 
in that connection. Under the head of *' Number," we shall inquire 
into the Dravidian mode of forming the masculine, feminine, and 
neuter singular, and the epicene and neuter plural. 

120 THE NOUN. * 

(1.) Masculine Singular. — It lias already been intimated that the 
formatives by which the gender of nouns is occasionally expressed are 
identical with the terminations of the demonstrative pronouns. From 
a very early period of the history of these languages, particles or for- 
matives of gender were suffixed to the demonstrative bases, by the 
addition of which suffixes demonstrative pronouns were formed. Those 
formatives of gender were not originally appended to or combined with 
substantive nouns ; but their use was gradually extended as their utility 
was perceived, and nouns which included the idea of gender were made 
to express that idea by suffixing the gender terminations of the pro- 
nouns, whereby they became appellative nouns. The manner in which 
all these suffixes are added will be sufficiently illustrated by the 
instance of the masculine singular. 

The masculine singular suffix of the Tamil is an, dn, or on. An, 
the shorter formative, is that which appears in the demonstrative pro- 
noun avan ia-{y)-a7t), he ; and by suffixing any of these formatives to 
an abstract or neuter noun, the noun ceases to be abstract and becomes 
a concrete masculine-singular appellative. Thus milpp-u, age, by the 
addition of an becomes mUpp-an, an elder, literally age-he, or age-man ; 
and from Tamir comes Tamir-an, a Tamilian, a Tamil-man. These 
and similar nouns are called generically " compound or divisible words" 
by Tamil grammarians. They are obviously compounded of a noun — 
generally a noun of quality or relation — and a suffix of gender, which 
appears also to have been a noun originally. 

In the instances which have been, adduced, the suffix of gender is 
annexed to the nominative or cassis rectus: but in many cases it is 
annexed to the oblique case or inflexional base, viz., to that form of 
the noun to which the case signs are suffixed, and which, when used 
by itself, has the meaning of the genitive or locative. When the 
inflexion, or oblique case, is employed instead of the nominative in 
compounds of this nature, it generally conveys a possessive or locative 
signification — e.g., maleiy'man {mal€i-{i/)-m-an), a mountaineer, literally 
a man of or on the mountain ; pattinsittan [pattin^-Vkii'dn), a citizen, 
literally a man of or in the city. Sometimes, however, the inflexional 
*'in" is merely added euphonically — e.g., there is no diff'erence in 
meaning between villan {vill-an), a bowman, and villinan {vilV-m-an), 
which is considered a more elegant form. Words of this description 
are in some grammars called adjectives; but they are never regarded 
as such by any native grammarians : they cannot be simply prefixed 
for the purpose of qualifying other words, and it is evident from their 
construction that they are merely appellative nouns. 

A subdivision of appellatives consists of words in which the suffixes 


of gender are annexed to adjectival forms — e.g., hodiya-n, a cruel man. 
I regard words of this class as participial nouns, and they will be 
investigated in the part on " The Verb," under the head of " Appella- 
tive Verbs ; " but whatever be the nature of kodiya (the first part of 
the compound), Tcodiya-n is certainly not an adjective, for before it can 
be used adjectivally we must append to it the relative participle dna, 
that is — e.g.^ hodiyan-dna, that is a cruel man j and as the compound, 
cruel man, cannot be called an adjective in English, neither is hodiyan 
an adjective in Tamil : it is properly an appellative noun. It may be 
said that the neuter plural of this word, viz., Jcodiya, may be prefixed 
adjectivally to any substantive ; but kodiya, cruel things, the neuter 
plural of kodiyan, is not really identical with the adjective kodiya, 
cruel. It is totally distinct from it, though identical in appearance. 
The a of the former word is the neuter suffix of plurality ; whereas the 
a of the latter is that of the possessive case and of the relative parti- 
ciple, as will be shown at the close of this part (see " Adjectival For- 
matives ") and in the part on " Verbs." 

Another species of Tamil appellative nouns is said by Beschi to be 
formed by annexing suffixes of gender to verbal roots — e.g., oduvdn, a 
reader, from odu, to read; but this, I believe, is an error. Those 
words are to be regarded as participial nouns, and oduvdn is literally 
he who will read, i.e., he who is accustomed to read. In the same 
manner, ddinan is the participial noun of the preterite tense, and means 
he who read or is accustomed to read : ddugindravan, the correspond- 
ing present participial noun, he who reads, belongs to the same class ; 
and these forms are not to be confounded with appellative nouns pro- 
perly so called. On the other hand, such words as kdppan, a pro- 
tector, are true appellatives ; but kdppan is not formed from the future 
tense of the verb (though kdppdn means he will protect), but from 
kdppu, protection, a derivative noun, of which the final and formative 
ppu is from the same origin as the corresponding final of muppu, old 
age. See the concluding section of the part on " The Verb." 

The suffixes of gender which form the terminal portion of appella- 
tive nouns vary somewhat in form, but they are one and the same in 
origin, and their variations are merely euphonic. It is the vowel only 
that varies, never the consonant. When a neuter noun ends with a 
vowel which is essential to it, and is incapable of elision, and also 
when a noun happens to be a long monosyllable, d7i, or in poetry 6n, 
is more commonly suffixed than an. In some cases avan, he, the full 
demonstrative pronoun, is suffixed Instead of its termination only, and 
this mode is thought peculiarly elegant. Thus, from vil or vill-u, a bow, 
we may form vill-an, vill-an, and vill-on, an archer, a bowman, and also 

122 THE NOUN. 

vill-avan. Indeed, dn and 6?i have evidently been formed, not from 
an, but from a + v + n, by the softening of the euphonic v, and the 
coalescence of the vowels. This corruption of avan into dn appears 
systematically in the third person masculine singular of the colloquial 
Tamil verb — e.g., pd-{n)-dn (not p6-{n)-avan), he went. 

The Canarese masculine singular suffix ami is identical with the 
Tamil an, the addition of u being merely a phonetic necessity of the 
modern dialect. In the older Canarese, the termination which was 
used was am, a particle which is to be regarded as the equivalent of 
an, n and m being interchangeable nasals. Malayalam is in this par- 
ticular perfectly identical with Tamil. The corresponding Telugu 
masculine singular formative is d-u, ud-u, or ad-u; or rather nd-u, 
iind-u, or andu, the obscure n being always pronounced, and being pro- 
bably an essential part of the original form of the particle, and by 
suffixing the same formative to any substantive noun, it becomes a 
masculine singular — e.g., mag-andu, a husband, a word which seems to 
be identical in origin with the Tamil mag-an, a son (the primitive and 
proper meaning of each word being a male). The masculine singular 
suffix of Telugu often takes the shape of und-u, and in like manner 
the epicene plural suffix, which is in Tamil ar-u, is often ur-u in 
Telugu ; but in these instances a changes into u through attraction. 

As Tamil forms masculine appellatives by suffixing the demon- 
strative pronoun avan, so does Telugu sometimes suffix its full 
demonstrative pronoun vdndu — e.g., chinna-vdndu, a boy (Tamil, 
sinna-{v)-an), literally he who is little. It is probable that the Telugu 
masculine singular suffix was originally an or an-u, as in Tamil- 
Ganarese. andu, und-u, or ndu, is found only in the nominative in 
correct Telugu, and it is replaced in all the oblique cases by ani or ni ; 
and that this ni is not merely an inflexional increment, but the repre- 
sentative of an old masculine singular suffix, appears on comparing it 
with ri, the corresponding oblique case suffix of the masculine-feminine 
plural, which is certainly formed from ar-u. When vdniki, to him, is 
compared with its plural vdriki, to them, it is evident that the former 
corresponds as closely to the Tamil avanulzku as the latter to avaruhku; 
and consequently that the ni of vdniki must be significant of the mas- 
culine singular. Probably the same termination survives in the demon- 
strative, dyana, he, a form which is more rarely used than vdndu. 

The Telugu nd being thus found to be identical with the Tarn., Can., 
Mai. n, and the old Can. m, the masculine suffixes an, am, and andu 
are also found to be identical. It is more difficult to determine the 
origin of this suffix an. an is sometimes used in Tam. and Mai. in- 
stead of am as a formative of neuter nouns, as will be shown hereafter 


in the section on the Nominative — e.g.^ palan (Sans. pJiala), fruit, 
instead of imlam; but I cannot see liow this can be identical in origin 
with the suffix an which denotes the masculine, the Dravidian mascu- 
line being a distinctive one — that is, not merely a grammatical term, 
but a sign of sex. On looking around for an explanation of the origin 
of the masculine suffix, it appears to me that the Ku, though one of 
the most barbarous of the Dravidian dialects, throws more light than 
any other upon this point. It forms its demonstrative pronouns in a 
simple and truly primitive manner by prefixing ^, the demonstrative 
base, to common nouns which signify man and woman. These nouns 
are dfi-u, a man, and dl-u, a woman j and ddn-u (compare Tam. a{v)an), 
literally that man, is used to signify he, and ddlu (compare Tam. a{v)al), 
that woman, to signify she. The Ku dn-ic, a man, seems certainly 
identical with the Tam. noun dn, a male, and probably also with dl, a 
man, a person. In the use to which this primitive root is put in the 
Ku word d-dn-u, we may see, I think, the origin of an, the suffix of 
the masculine singular in most of the Dravidian dialects. The final 
21, of the Ku word dfi-u, being merely euphonic, the root appears to be 
dTi or dn; and as n and 7i have been shown to be interchangeable, d?i 
must be regarded as only another form of dn. n, again, is not only 
often euphonised by suffixing du {e.g., pen, Tam. a female, colloqui- 
ally and poetically pend-u), but it is also sometimes directly changed 
into d, of which we have an instance in the classical Tamil ped-ei, a 
hen, a word which is derived by this process from, and is identical 
with pen, a female. Hence, the Telugu suffix and-u might naturally 
be derived from an older form in an, if it should appear that that form 
existed j and that it did exist, appears from the vulgar use to the pre- 
sent day of n instead of n in some of the oblique cases {e.g., vdnni, 
him, instead of vdni), and from the half anusvdra, or obscure nasal, 
which precedes du itself — e.g., vdndu, for vddu, he. A close connec- 
tion appears thus to be established between the Tamil-Canarese an and 
the Telugu ad-u, through the middle point an. 

The only difficulty in the way of the perfect identification of the 
formative an with the Ku anu, a man, and with the Tamil dn, a male, 
lies in the length of the vowel of the latter words. Here again Ku 
comes to our assistance j for we find that the vowel was euphoni- 
cally shortened in some instances in the very dialect in which the 
origin of the word itself was discovered. In Ku the d of dn-u is long, 
both when it is used as an isolated word and in the demonstratives 
ddn-u, he, and ddl-ii, she; but when the demonstrative pronoun is 
appended to, and combine(J with, the relative participle of the verb, so 
as to form with it a participial noun, the d of dit-tc is shortened into a, 

124 THE NOUN. 

and in this shortened form the connection of the Ku formative with 
the Tamil-Canarese is seen to be complete. Compare the Ku partici- 
pial noun gitdn-u, he who did, with the corresponding Canarese 
geyiddii-ii; gitdr-u, Ku, they who did, with geyidar-u, Can., and also 
gital-u, Ku, she who did, with geyidal-u, Can. 

(2.) Feminine Singular. — Though Telugu and G6nd generally use 
the neuter singular to supply the place of the feminine singular, 
the other Dravidian dialects possess and constantly use a feminine 
singular formative which is quite distinct from that of the neuter. 
This formative is al in Tamil, Malayalam, and old Canarese, and by 
suffixing the sign of gender to the demonstrative base, the feminine 
singular .demonstrative pronoun aval (a{v)al), she, is formed — a word 
which perfectly corresponds to avail {a{v)an), he. A numerous class 
of feminine singular appellative nouns is formed by suffixing the same 
particle to abstract or neuter nouns in their crude state — e.g., compare 
mag-alf Tam. a daughter, with mag-an, a son ; ill-dl, housewife, a 
wife, and ill-dn, a husband, are formed from the addition of the pro- 
nouns aval and avan (euphonised into dl and dn) to il, a home, 

Telugu, in some connections, uses a feminine singular formative 
which appears to be identical with that of Tamil-Canarese. That 
formative is dl-u, which is used by Ku more largely than by Telugu ; 
and its identity with Tamil-Canarese aZ, will be found to furnish us 
with a clue to the origin and literal meaning of the latter. As dn-u, 
in Ku, means a man, so dl-u means a woman : ddl-u, she, is literally 
that woman. The same word dl-u, means a woman, a wife, in poetical 
and vulgar Telugu also ; and in G6nd there is a word which is appar- 
ently allied to it, dr, a woman. Even in Sanskrit we meet with dli, a 
woman's female friend. It is evident that dl-u would be shortened 
into al as easily as dn-u into an, and the constant occurrence of 
a cerebral / in Tamil and Canarese, where Telugu has the medial I, 
fully accounts for the change of the one semi-vowel into the other. 
The unchanged form of this suffix appears in Telugu in such words 
as manama-ir)-dlu, a granddaughter, compared with manama-ndu, a 
grandson. The abbreviation of the vowel of the feminine suffix, 
which is characteristic of Tamil and Canarese, is exemplified in Telugu 
also, in the words maradal-u, a niece, and hddal-u, a daughter-in-law ; 
in which words the feminine suffix al-u, is evidently identical both 
with Tamil-Canarese al or al-u, and also with dl-u, the older and more 
regular form of this suffix, which is capable of being used by itself as 
a noun. Probably the Telugu dd-u, adj. female, though now treated 
as a different word, is identical in origin with dl-u, through the very 
common interchange of d and / / an illustration of which we have in 


'kei-{y)-dlu, Tam. to use, which is converted in the colloquial dialect to 
'kei-{y)-ddu.'^ The feminine singular suffix al appears in Tamil and 
Canarese in the terminations of verbs as well as in those of pronouns. 
Telugu, on the other hand, which uses the neuter demonstrative instead 
of the feminine singular, uses the final fragment of the same demon- 
strative as the termination of the feminine singular of its verb. It 
may be remarked that in some of the Caucasian dialects, n and I are 
used as masculine and feminine terminals, exactly as in Tamil — e.g.^ 
in Avar, emen^ is father, evel, is mother. 

There is another mode of forming the feminine singular of appellative 
nouns, which is much used in all the Dravidian dialects, and which 
may be regarded as especially characteristic of Telugu. It consists in 
suffixing the Telugu neuter singular demonstrative, its termination, or 
a modification of it, to any abstract or neuter noun. The neuter 
singular demonstrative being used by Telugu instead of the feminine 
singular (it for she), this neuter suffix has naturally in Telugu supplied 
the place of a feminine suffix ; and though in the other dialects the 
feminine pronouns are formed by means of feminine suffixes, not by 
those of the neuter, yet the less respectful Telugu usage has crept into 
the department of their appellative nouns. In Tamil, this neuter- 
feminine suffix is atti or tti. This will appear on comp>aring velldl-atti, 
a woman of the cultivator caste, with velldl-an, a man of the same 
caste ; oru-tti, one woman, una, with oru-{y)-an, one man_, unus; and 
van7id-Ui, a washerwoman, with vannd-n, a washerman, tt, a portion 
of this suffix, is sometimes erroneously used in vulgar Tamil as a 
component element in the masculine appellative noun oruttan, one man, 
instead of the classical and correct oruvan. With this exception its use 
is exclusively feminine. The same suffix is iti or ti in Canarese — 
e.g.^ arasiti, a queen (corresponding to the Tamil rdsdtti), oJckalati, a 
farmer's wife. The Telugu uses adi or di — e.g., h6mati-{y)-adi or 

* It is more doubtful whether the Tulu dl, Gond-Telugu dl-u, a woman, is 
allied to the Tamil common noun dl, a person ; and yet the existence of some 
alliance appears to me probable, dl appears to mean properly a subject person, 
a servant — male or female — a slave. It is derived from dl (Tel. el-u), to rule, 
and this seems a natural enough origin for a word intended to signify a Hindu 
woman. The ordinary Tamil word which signifies a woman is ^en, the literal 
signification of which is said to be desire, from the verbal root 'p^n, to desire ; 
but the word is generally restricted to mean, a young woman, a bride. Hence, 
taking into consideration the subject position of women in India, the word dl, 
one who is subject to rule, a person whose sole duty it is to obey, is as natural 
a derivation for a word signifying a woman, a female, as pen ; and perhaps more 
likely to come into general use as a suffix of the feminine singular. Dr Gundert 
has no doubt of the identity *)f the Tamil dl and the Telugu dlu : their identity, 
however, ia not admitted by Mr C. P. Brown. 

126 THE KOUN. 

Jcomati-di, a woman of the Komti caste ; mdla-di, a Paria woman ; 
chinna-di, a girl. It seems to me evident, not only that all these 
suffixes are identical, but that the Telugu form of the demonstrative 
neuter singular, viz., adi, it, which is used systematically by Telugu to 
signify she, is the root from whence they have all proceeded. 

Another feminine singular suffix of appellatives occasionally used in 
the Dravidian languages may possibly have been derived from the 
imitation of Sanskrit. It consists in the addition of i to the crude 
or neuter noun; and it is only in quantity that this i differs from 
the long I, which is so much used by Sanskrit as a feminine suffix. 
In the majority of cases it is only in connection with Sanskrit deriva- 
tives that this suffix is used ; but it has also come to be appended to 
some pure Dravidian nouns — e.g., talei-{v)-i, Tam. a lady (compare 
talei-{v)-an, a lord), from talei, a head ; compare also the Gond perd- 
gal, a boy, with 2^erdgi, a girl. This feminine suffix is not to be con- 
founded with ^, a suffix of agency, which is much used in the formation 
of nouns of agency and operation, and which is used by all genders 
indiscriminately. See " Verbal Derivatives," at the close of the part 
on " The Verb." 

3. Neuter Singular. — There is but little which is worthy of remark 
in the singular forms of neuter Dravidian nouns. Every Dravidian 
noun is naturally neuter, or destitute of gender, and it becomes mas- 
culine or feminine solely in virtue of the addition of a masculine or 
feminine suffix. When abstract Sanskrit nouns are adopted by the 
Dravidians, the neuter nominative form of those nouns (generally 
ending in am) is preferred. Sanskrit masculines, with the exception 
of those which denote rational beings, are made to terminate in arriy 
being treated as neuters; and there are also some neuter nouns of 
pure Dravidian origin which end in am, or take am as their formative. 
The Dravidian termination am is not to be regarded, however, as a 
sign of the neuter, or a neuter suffix, though such is often its character 
in Sanskrit. It is merely one of a numerous class of formatives, of 
which much use is made by the Dravidian dialect, and by the addition 
of which verbal roots are transformed into derivative nouns. Such 
formatives are to be regarded as forming a part of the noun itself, not 
of the inflexional additions. See " Verbal Derivatives," at the close 
of the section on " The Verb." 

All animated beings destitute of reason are placed by Dravidian 
grammarians in the caste-less, or neuter class, and the nouns that 
denote such animals, both in the singular and in the plural, are uni- 
formly regarded as neuter or destitute of gender, irrespective of the 
animal's sex. If it happen to be necessary to distinguish the sex of 


any animal that is included in this class, a separate word signifying 
male or female, he or she, is prefixed. Even in such cases, however, 
the pronoun with which the noun stands in agreement is neuter, and 
notwithstanding the specification of the animal's sex, the noun itself 
remains in the caste-less or neuter class. For this reason, suffixes 
expressive of the neuter gender, whether singular or plural, were not 
much required by Dravidian nouns. The only neuter singular suffix 
of the Dravidian languages, which is used in the same manner as the 
masculine an or adu, and the feminine al, is that which constitutes 
the termination of the neuter singular of demonstrative pronouns and 
appellative nouns. This pronoun is in Tamil, Canarese, and Malay^lam, 
adu, that, idu, this ; in Telugu adi, idi ; in Gond ad, id. 

In the Tulu pronoun the d has dropped out. The pronoun ' that ' is 
avu. Dr Gundert considers this simply a corruption, and he shows 
that the language had its neuter singular in d originally, like its sister 
languages, by adducing such words as att\ it is not, which was evi- 
dently aldu, originally, like the Tamil allaud (old Tam. andru = aldu), 
in which the suffix du or d is the formative of the neuter singular. 

The same neuter demonstrative, or in some instances its termination 
only, is used in the conjugation of Dravidian verbs as the sign of the 
neuter singular of each tense, and in Telugu as the sign of the feminine 
singular also. The bases of the Dravidian demonstratives being a and 
i [a remote, i proximate), that part of each pronoun which is found to 
be annexed to those demonstrative vowels is evidently a suffix of 
number and gender ; and as the final vowels of ad-u, ad-i, id-u, id-i, 
are merely euphonic, and have been added only for the purpose of 
helping the enunciation, it i"^ evident that d alone constitutes the sign 
of the neuter singular. This view is confirmed by the circumstance 
that d never appears in the neuter plural of this demonstrative, but is 
replaced by ei, u, i, or short a, with a preceding euphonic v or n — 
e.g., compare adu (a-d-u), Tam. that, with ava (a-(v)-a), Malayilam, 
those. It will be shown afterwards that this final a is a sign of the 
neuter plural. 

Appellative nouns which form their masculine singular in Tamil in 
an, and their feminine singular in al, form their neuter singular by 
annexing die, with such euphonic changes as the previous consonant 
happens to require — e.g., nalla-du, a good thing ; al-du, euphonically 
andru, a thing that is not ; periya-du or peri-du, great, a great thing. 
This neuter singular suffix d is largely used in all the dialects in the 
formation of verbal nouns — e.g., pogita-du, Tam. the act of going, 
p6na-du, the having gonQ, ^6va-du, the being about to go. This form 
has been represented by some, but erroneously, as an infinitive ; it is 

128 THE NOUN. 

a concrete verbal or participial noun of the neuter gender, which has 
gradually come to be used as an abstract. 

The affinities of the neuter singular suffix in d appears to be ex- 
clusively Indo-European, and they are found especially in the Indo- 
European pronouns and pronominals. We may observe this suffix in 
the Sanskrit tat, that ; in tyat, that ; in adas, a weakened form of adat, 
that j in etat, this ; and in the relative pronoun yat, who, which, what. 
We find it also in the Latin illud, id, &c. (compare the Latin id with 
the Tamil id-u, this) ; and in our English demonstrative neuter it 
(properly hit), the neuter of he, as also in what, the neuter of who. 
Compare also the Vedic it, an indeclinable pronoun, described as "a 
petrified neuter," which combines with the negative particle na to form 
net, if not, apparently in the same manner as in Telugu the aoristic 
neuter ledu, there is not, is compounded of the negative la for ila, and 
the suffix du. Though the Dra vidian languages appear in this point 
to be allied to the Sanskrit family, it would be unsafe to suppose that 
they borrowed this neuter singular suffix from Sanskrit. The analogy 
of the Dravidian neuter plural in a, which though Indo-European, is 
foreign to Sanskrit, and that of the remote and proximate demonstra- 
tive vowels a and i, which though known to the Indo-European family, 
are used more systematically and distinctively by the Dravidian lan- 
guages than by any other class of tongues, would lead to the supposi- 
tion that these particles were inherited by the Dravidian family, in 
common with Sanskrit, from a primitive pre- Sanskrit source. 

The Plueal: Principles of Pluralisation. — In the primitive 
Indo-European tongues, the plural is carefully distinguished from the 
singular ; and with the exception of a few nouns of quantity which 
have the form of the singular, but a plural signification, the number of 
nouns is always denoted by their inflexional terminations. Nouns 
whose number is indefinite, like our modern English sheep, are un- 
known to the older dialects of this family. In the languages of the 
Scythian group a looser principle prevails, and number is generally 
left indefinite, so that it is the connection alone which determines 
whether a noun is singular or plural. Manchu restricts the use of 
its pliiralising particle to words which denote animated beings : all 
other words are left destitute of signs of number. Even the Tartar, 
or Oriental Turkish, ordinarily pluralises the pronouns alone, and 
leaves the number of other nouns indeterminate. In Brahui also, 
the number of nouns is generally left undefined ; and when it is desired 
to attach to any noun the idea of plurality, a word signifying many 
or several, is prefixed to it. Notwithstanding this rule, Brahui verbs 


are regularly pluralised; and the number of an indeterminate noun 
may often be ascertained from the number of the verb with wliich it 

With respect to principles of pluralisation, most of the Dravidian 
tongues differ considerably from the Indo-European family, and accord 
on the whole with the languages of the Scythian stock. The number 
of Tamil nouns, especially of neuter nouns, is ordinarily indefinite ; 
and it depends upon the connection whether any noun is to be regarded 
as singular or as plural. It is true that when more persons than one 
are referred to, the high-caste or rational pronouns that are used 
are almost invariably plural, and that even neuter nouns them- 
selves are sometimes pluralised, especially in polished prose composi- 
tions ; but the poets and the peasants, the most faithful guardians of 
antique forms of speech, rarely pluralise the neuter, and are fond of 
using the singular noun in an indefinite singular-plural sense, without 
specification of number, except in so far as it is expressed by the 
context. This rule is adhered to with especial strictness by Tamil, 
which in this, as in many other particulars, seems to exhibit most 
faithfully the primitive condition of the Dravidian languages. Thus 
in Tamil, mddu, ox, means either an ox or oxen, according to the con- 
nection j and even when a numeral which necessarily conveys the 
idea of plurality is prefixed, idiomatic speakers prefer to retain the 
singular or indefinite form of the noun. Hence they will rather say, 
ndlu mddu meygivadu, literally four ox is feeding, than ndlu mddugal 
meygiTidrana, four oxen are feeding, which would sound stiff and 
pedantic. Telugu is an exception to this rule. In it neuter nouns 
are as regularly pluralised as masculines or feminines, and the verbs 
with which they agree are pluralised to correspond. In Tuda, on the 
other hand, the only words that appear to be ever pluralised are the 
pronouns and the verbs which have pronouns for their nominatives. 
In Coorg neuter nouns have no plural. We find a similar usage 
occasionally even in English, as Mr C. P. Brown points out, in the 
military phrases, a hundred /oo^, three hundred horse. 

In Tamil, even when a neuter noun is pluralised by the addition of 
a pluralising particle, the verb is rarely pluralised to correspond ; but 
the singular form of verb is still used for the plural — the number of 
the neuter singular being naturally indeterminate. This is almost 
invariably the practice in the speech of the lower classes ; and the 
colloquial style of even the best educated classes exhibits a similar 
characteristic. Tamil contains, it is true, a plural form of the third 
person neuter of the verb ; ^but the use of this neuter plural verb is 

130 THE NOUN. 

ordinarily restricted to poetry, and even in poetry the singular number 
both of neuter nouns and of the verbs that correspond is much more 
commonly used than the plural. It should be remarked also, that the 
third person neuter of the Tamil future, or aorist, is altogether destitute 
of a plural. In this particular, therefore, the Tamil verb is more 
decidedly Scythian in character than the noun itself. Max Miiller 
supposes that a Dravidian neuter plural noun, with its suffix of plural- 
ity, is felt to be a compound (like animal-mass for animals, or stone- 
heap for stones), and that it is on this account that it is followed by a 
verb in the singular. The explanation I have given seems to me pre- 
ferable. The number of all Dravidian nouns, whether high-caste or 
caste-less, was originally indefinite : the singular, the primitive condi- 
tion of every noun, was then the only number which was or could be 
recognised by verbal or nominal inflexions, and plurality was left to 
be inferred from the context. As civilisation made progress, the plural 
made its appearance, and effected a permanent settlement in the de- 
partment of high-caste or masculine-feminine nouns and verbs ; w^hilst 
the number of caste-less or neuter nouns, whether suffixes of plurality 
were used or not, still remained generally unrecognised by the verb in 
the Dravidian languages. Even where the form exists it is little used. 
It is curious, that in this point the Greek verb exhibits signs of 
Scythian influences, or of the influences of a culture lower than its 
own, viz., in the use of the singular verb for the neuter plural. 

The Dravidian languages ordinarily express the idea of singularity 
or oneness, not by the addition of a singular suffix to nouns and pro- 
nouns, or by the absence of the pluralising particle (by which number 
is still left indeterminate), but by prefixing the numeral adjective one. 
Thus, mddu, Tam. ox, does not mean exclusively either an ox or oxen, 
but admits of either meaning according to circumstances ; and if we wish 
distinctly to specify singularity, we must say oru madu, one or a certain 
ox. Europeans in speaking the Dravidian dialects use this prefix of sin- 
gularity too frequently, misled by their habitual use of an indefinite 
article in their own tongues. They also make too free a use, in Tamil, 
of the distinctively plural form of neuter nouns, when the objects to 
which they wish to refer are plural. Occasionally, when etiphony or 
usage recommend it, this is done by Tamilian s themselves, but as a 
general rule the neuter singular is used instead of the neuter plural, 
and that not in Tamil only, but also in almost all the languages of the 
Scythian group. 

Another important particular in which the Indo-European languages 
differ from the Scythian is, that in the former the plural has a different 


set of case-terminations from the singular, by the use of which the idea 
of plurality is not separately expressed, but is compounded with that 
of case-relation ; whilst in the latter family the plural uses the same 
set of case-terminations as the singular, and plurality is expressed by a 
sign of plurality common to all the cases, which is inserted between the 
singular, or crude form of the noun, and the case-terminations. I call 
it a sign of plurality, not a noun denoting plurality, for in many in- 
stances only a fraction of a word, perhaps only a single letter, remains. 
In the Indo-European languages, each inflexion includes the twofold 
idea of number and of case. Thus there is a genitive singular and a 
genitive plural, each of which is a complex idea ; but there is no in- 
flexion which can be called genitive, irrespective of number ; and in 
many instances (this of the genitive being one) there is no apparent 
connection between the case-termination of the singular and that which 
is used in, and which constitutes, the plural. 

In those few cases in which the sign of number and the sign of case 
seem to have been originally distinct, and to have coalesced into one, 
the sign of case seems to have preceded that of number — e.g., the 
Gothic plural accusative ws is derived from n or m, the sign of the 
accusative singular, and s, the sign of plurality. When the Scythian 
family of languages is examined, it is found that each of their case- 
signs is fixed and unalterable. It expresses the idea of case and 
nothing more, and is the same in the plural as in the singular, with 
the exception of those few trivial changes which are required by 
euphony. The sign of plurality also is not only distinct from the 
case-sign^ but is one and the same in all the cases. It is an unalter- 
able postposition — a fixed quantity ; and it is not post-fixed to the 
case-sign, much less compounded with it, as in the Indo-European 
languages, but is prefixed to it. It is attached directly to the root 
itself, and followed by the signs of the different cases. 

In the Dravidian languages a similar simplicity and rigidity of 
structure characterises the use of the particles of plurality. They are 
added directly to the crude base of the noun (which is equivalent to 
the nominative singular), and are the same in each of the oblique cases 
as in the nominative. The signs of ease are the same in the plural as 
in the singular, the only real difference being that in the singular they 
are suffixed to the crude noun itself, in the plural to the pluralising 
particle, after the addition of that particle to the crude noun. The 
only exception to this rule is in Tulu, in which a, the sign of the 
genitive, keeps its place in the singular, as in the other dialects, but is 
weakened to e in the plural. 



L Hungarian, hdz^ a house, is 

declined as follows : — 



Nom. hdz. 
Gen. hdz-nak. 
Dat. hdz-nak. 
Ace. hdz-at. 

Nom. hdzak. 
Gen. hdz-ak-nak. 
Dat. hdz-ak-nak. 
Ace. hdz-ak-at. 

I Tamil, manei, a house, is declined as follows : — 



Nom. manei. 
Ace. manei-{y)-ei. 
Instr. manei-{y)-dl. 
Conj. manei-{y)-ddu. 
Dat. manei-kku. 
Ablat. manei-(y)-il-irundu. 
Gen. manei-{y)-inadu. 
Locat. manei-{y)-idatt-il. 
Voc. manei-{yye. 

Nom. manei-gal 
Ace. manei-gal-ei. 
Instr. manei-gal-dl. 
Conj. manei-gal-6du. 
Dat. manei-gal-(u)-kku. 
Ablat. manei-gal-il-irundu. 
Gen. manei-gal-inadu. 
Locat. manei-gal-idatt-il. 
Voc. manei-gal-^. 

(See Paradigm of Nouns.) 

We here see that the particular signs which are used to express 
plurality and as exponents of case, in Tamil and Hungarian respec- 
tively, are taken from the resources of each language; whilst the 
manner in which they are used in both languages is precisely the 

The neuter of Dravidian nouns being identical with the crude base, 
when the pluralising particle is attached to a neuter noun, it is attached 
to it not as a substitute for any suflSx of the singular, but directly and 
without any change : it is attached to it pure and simple. In the case 
of masculine and feminine nouns, including pronouns, a somewhat 
different method of pluralisation is necessary. The singular of the 
masculine and feminine is formed, as has already been pointed out, by 
the addition to the root of particles denoting a male or a female. 
Hence, to pluralise those nouns, it is necessary either to add a pluralis- 
ing particle to the masculine and feminine suffixes, or to substitute for 
those suffixes an epicene pluralising particle. In all the Dravidian 
languages the primitive plan of pluralising these two classes of nouns 
seems to have been that of substituting for the masculine and feminine 
singular suffixes a suffix of plurality which applied in common to men 
and women, without distinction of sex. This is the mode which is 
still used in most of the dialects ; but in Telugu it retains its place 
only in connection with pronouns and verbs, and has disappeared from 
substantives, which form their plural by means of a neuter suffix. 


The classification of Dravidian nouns into rationals and irrationals 
has already been explained; it has also been shown that in the 
sinf^ular, the masculine of rational nouns is distinguished from the 
feminine. In the plural both those genders are combined ; the high- 
caste particle of plurality, or plural of rational beings, is the same for 
both genders, and includes men and women, gods and goddesses, with- 
out distinction of sex. Irrational or neuter nouns have a particle of 
plurality difi'erent from this, and in general peculiar to themselves. 
Hence the Dravidian languages have one form of the plural which may 
be called epicene or masculine-feminine, and another which is ordi- 
narily restricted to the neuter; and by means of these pluralising 
particles, gender and number are conjointly expressed in the plural by 
one and the same termination. The masculine-feminine plural expresses 
the idea of plurality conjointly with that of rationality ; the neuter 
plural, the idea of plurality conjointly with that of irrationality. 

Arrangements of this kind for giving combined expression to gender 
and number are very commonly observed in the Indo-European family ; 
and even the plan of classing masculines and feminines together in 
the plural, without distinction of sex, is alsa very common. Thus, the 
Sanskrit plural in as is masculine-feminine y so is the Latin plural in 
es, and the Greek in g?. The chief difference with respect to this point 
between the Dravidian system and the Indo-European one lies in this, 
that in the' Dravidian languages the masculine-feminine particle of 
plurality is carefully restricted to rational beings ; whereas in the Indo- 
European languages irrational and even inanimate objects are often 
complimented with inflexional forms and pluralising particles which 
imply the existence, not only of vitality, but even of personality — that 
is, of self-conscious intelligence. A still closer analogy to the Dra- 
vidian system is that which is exhibited by the New Persian. That 
dialect possesses two pluralising particles, of which one, dn, is suffixed 
to nouns denoting living beings, "^ the other, hd, to nouns denoting 
inanimate objects. The particles employed in Persian are different 
from those which are used in the Dravidian languages, but the prin- 

* Bopp derives an, the New Persian plural of animated beings, from the San- 
skrit an, the masculine plural accusative. I am inclined with Sir Henry Rawlin- 
8on to connect this particle with the Chaldaic and Cuthite plural an, allied to im 
and in {e.g., anctn, Chald. we) ; the New Persian being undoubtedly tinged with 
Chaldgeo-Assyrian elements, through its connection with the Pehlvi. One is 
tempted to connect with this suffix our modern English plural suffix en, in 
brethren. Bopp, however, holds that this en is an ancient formative suffix origi- 
nally used by the singular as well as the plural. Compare mediaeval Eng. brethren 
with Anglo-Saxon brSdkra. ffhe Dutch use both hroeders, the older form, and 
broederin, the more modern. 

134 THE NOUN. 

ciple is evidently analogous. The Persians specialise life, the Dravi- 
dians reason ; and both of them class the sexes together indiscrimi- 
nately in the plural. 

In Telugu some confusion has been introduced between the epicene 
sign of plurality ar-u, and the neuter lu. The pronouns pluralise their 
masculines and feminines regularly by substituting ar-u for their mas- 
culine' and feminine singular suffixes, whilst the substantives and some 
of the appellative nouns append hi, which is properly the neuter sign 
of plurality, instead of the more correct ar-u. Thus the Telugu demon- 
strative pronoun vdr-ti, they (the plural of vdndu, he), corresponding to 
the Canarese avar-u, exhibits the regular epicene plural ; whilst mag- 
andu, a husband (in Tamil magan, a son), takes for its plural not mag- 
aru, but magalu ; and some nouns of this class add lu to the masculine 
or feminine singular suffix — e.g., alludu, a son-in-law, makes in the 
plural not alluru, nor even allulu, but allundlu, nasalised from alludlu; 
and instead of vdru, they, vdndlu is colloquially used, a word which is 
formed on the same plan as the Low Tamil avangal, they, instead of 
avargal, or the higher and purer avar. 

One of the few cases in which the irrational pluralising particle is 
used in the higher dialect of the Tamil instead of the rational epicene, 
is that of makkal (maggal), mankind, people. This is not really, how- 
ever, an exception to the rule, for mctkhal is regarded by Tamil gram- 
marians as the plural of maga (from mag-u), and the primary meaning 
of this seems to be child, a naturally neuter noun. Another instance 
of this anomaly both in Tamil and Canarese, and one to which no 
exception can be taken, is that of the masculine noun guru (Sans.), a 
teacher. The plural of this word is in Tam. guruhkal, in Can. guru- 
galu. Tulu also has guruhulu. 

Tulu agrees with the other dialects in using er as its sign of plu- 
rality in personal nouns, but differs from most of them in using this 
form occasionally only, and using gal, or the shape which gal assumes 
in Tulu, as its ordinary plural of personal nouns, as well as of neuters. 
Thus, the plural pronouns of the third person in ordinary use in Tulu 
are dkulu, they (/-ew.), mokulu, they (prox.) It uses also dr' (Tam. 
avar) for the former, and mer' (Tam. ivar) for the latter, but rather as 
honorific singulars than as plurals. It also uses nikulu for you, instead 
of w'', the latter having come to be used as an honorific singular. 

The Ku rational plural is ngd, which is properly an irrational one. 
The pronouns and participial nouns form their rational plural by the 
addition of drti, which is identical with the ar of the other dialects. 
Modern colloquial Tamil seems to have been influenced in some degree 
by the usage of Telugu, and has adopted the practice of adding the 


irrational plural to the rational one, thereby systematically forming a 
double plural ar-gal, instead of the old rational plural ar — e.g., avan, 
he, and aval, she, properly take avar, they, as their plural ; but the 
plural preferred by modern Tamil is the double one avargal. So also 
the plural of the second person is properly nir ; but the plural which 
is most commonly used is nin-gal (from nim, an older form of nir, and 
gal), which is a double plural like avar-gal. Two forms of the epicene 
plural being thus placed at the disposal of the Tamil people (the classi- 
cal nir and avar, and the colloquial nih-gal and avar-gal), they have 
converted the former, in colloquial usage and in prose compositions, 
into an honorific singular, and the same practice is not unknown in 
Canarese. This usage, though universally prevalent now, was almost un- 
known to the poets. I have not observed in the poets, or in any of the 
old inscriptions in my possession, any instance of the use of the epicene 
plural as an honorific singular, except in connection with the names and 
titles of the divinities, whether those names and titles are applied to 
the gods themselves, or are conferred honorifically upon kings. Even 
in those cases, however, the corresponding pronoun follows the ordinary 
rule, and is very rarely honorific. In modern Telugu a double plural, 
similar to that of the Tamil, has gained a footing — e.g., vdra-lu (for 
vdr-u), they, and mira-lu (for mir-u), you. In Malayalam, avar is still 
constantly used for the ordinary epicene plural, and avargal is used 
more commonly as an honorific singular. This use of avargal is also 
common in Tamil, and the corresponding gd7'u equally so in Telugu. 
(Tam. durei-avargal = Tel. dora-gdru, the gentleman, literally the gen- 
tlemen, his honour.) In Canarese, avaru is commonly used simply as 
a plural ; dtanu is regarded as the honorific singular, though avaru also 
is sometimes used in this sense, ningal in Tamil and Malayalam is 
both plural and honorific singular, like Can. nivu and Tel. miru. 

Telugu, as has been observed, pluralises masculine and feminine 
substantive nouns by the addition, not of the rational, but of the 
neuter or irrational, sign of plurality. By a similar inversion of idiom, 
Gond sometimes uses the rational plural to pluralise neuter nouns — 
e.g., kdwdlor, crows. Such usages, however, are evidently exceptions to 
the general and more distinctively Dravidian rule, according to which 
the neuter pluralising particle is restricted to neuter nouns, and the 
epicene particle to rational or personal nouns, i.e., masculines and 

We shall now consider in detail the pluralising particles themselves. 

1. Epicene Pluralising Particle. — This particle is virtually one and 
the same in all the dialects, and the different forms it has taken are 
owing merely to euphonic peculiarities. In Tamil nouns, pronouns, 

136 THE KOUN. 

and verbs, it assumes the forms of ar, dr, 6r ; ir, ir : in Canarese and 
Telugu, aru, aru; dre, eru; ri, ru: in Tulu, er : in Ku, dru : in 
Gond, c)r. The lengthened forms include the assimilated demonstra- 
tive vowel of the pronoun. The Brahui also forms the second person 
plural of its verb in ere, ure, &c., the third person in ur or ar. I 
regard ar (not simply r) as probably the primitive shape of this plural- 
ising particle, from which the other forms have been derived by eupho- 
nic mutation. It is true that n%, thou, forms its plural in modern 
Tamil by simply adding r ; but this does not prove that r alone was 
the primitive form of the epicene plural, for an older form of nir^ you, 
is ni-(v)-ir or ni-{y)-ir, from which nir has evidently been derived. It 
might naturally be supposed that in this case ir is used instead of ar, 
through the attraction of the preceding long vowel t; but we also find 
ir used as a pluralising particle in magalir, High Tam. women, and 
also a longer form, tr, in magalir; consequently ir has acquired a posi- 
tion of its own in the language, as well as ar. All that we can cer- 
tainly conclude respecting the original shape of this particle is that the 
final r, which is plainly essential, was preceded by a vowel, and that 
that vowel was probably a. May we regard this a as identical with 
the demonstrative a? On this supposition, ar would be simply an 
older form of a{v)aj; and would mean those persons ; ir would mean 
these persons. On the other hand, may we venture to identify ir and 
tr with the second numeral ir and ir, two 1 nir would on this suppo- 
sition have been originally a dual, meaning ye two. It is not impos- 
sible, indeed, that the plural may in all languages have been developed 
out of the dual. In Bornu, we, ye, they, mean literally we two, ye 
two, they two. The chief difficulty in the way of accepting this as the 
origin of the Tamil ir or nir, you, is that the ar of avar, they, which 
is the form of the epicene plural most commonly used, would have to 
be regarded as a corruption and a mistake, which it does not appear to 
be. The Canarese rational plural suffix andar — e.g., avandar-u (for 
avar-u), tZ^i, and ivandar-u (for ivar-u), hi seems to be identical with 
the Tel. indefinite plural andar-u, indar-u, so many, the final ar of 
which is the ordinary suflix of the epicene plural. In old Canarese, ir 
is a plural vocative of epicenes. 

Tamil and Malay ^lam have another particle of plurality applicable 
to rational beings, viz., mdr, or in High Tamil mar, which has a con- 
siderable resemblance to ar, and is evidently allied to it. It i^ suflixed 
to the noun which it qualifies in a difi'erent manner from ar ; for 
whilst ar is substituted for the masculine and feminine suffixes of the 
singular, not added to them, mdr is generally added to the singular 
suffix by idiomatic writers and speakers. Thus in Tamil, purushan 


(Sans.) a man, a husband, when pluralised by suffixing ar becomes 
purushar ; but if mdr is used instead of ar, it is not substituted for 
an, the masculine singular suffix, but appended to it — e.g., purushan- 
mdr, not purusha-mar. mdr, it is true, is sometimes added to ar — 
e.g., purushar -mdr ; but this is considered unidiomatical. mdr is also 
sometimes used as an isolated particle of plurality in a peculiarly 
Scythian manner — e.g., tdy-tagappan-mdr, Tam. mothers and fathers, 
parents ; in which both mother and father are in the singular, and mdr 
is separately appended to pluralise both. Probably there was originally 
no difference in signification between ar and mar or mdr. In modern 
Tamil, mdr is suffixed to nouns signifying parents, priests, kings, &c., 
as a plural of honour, but it may be suffixed, if necessary, to any class 
of nouns denoting rational beings. In Malay 41am it is used with a 
wider range of application than in Tamil, and in cases in which an 
honorific meaning cannot be intended — e.g., Jcallan-mdr, thieves. The 
antiquity of many of the forms of the Malayalam grammar favours 
the supposition that in ancient Tamil, which was apparently identical 
with ancient Malay 41am, mar or mdr may generally have been used 
instead of ar, as the ordinary pluralising particle of high-caste nouns. 

A few traces of the use of the particle mdr, as the ordinary sign of 
epicene plurality, survive in classical Tamil, mar, which is evidently 
equivalent to mdr, forms the epicene plural of a few nouns — e.g., 
. enmar, eight persons. As a,r is older than dr (the latter being euphon- 
ised from avar by the coalescence of the vowels), so in like manner it 
may be concluded that mar is older than mdr. This mar again seems 
to have been derived from var, or to be an older form of it, m and v 
being sometimes found to change places. When the Tam. ndlvar, 
four persons, eivar, five persons, are compared with enmar, eight 
persons, it is evident that mar is equivalent to var, and probable that 
the use of m for v is an euphonic change, ndlmar would be impossible 
in classical Tamil ; enmar is not only possible, but euphonic. 

var is a verj'- common formative of epicene appellative nouns in Tamil 
and Malayalam, and often appears as avar, in which case we cannot but 
regard it as the pronominal avar, they, used as a plural formative — 
e.g., vinnavar, Tam. the heavenly ones, from vin, heaven, with avar 
affixed. Compare this form with participial nouns like seydavar, Tam. 
they who did, from seyd-{u), having done, and avar, they, and the 
identity in origin of the avar of vinnavar and that of seydavar will be 
evident. This avar, again, seems to have been abbreviated into var, 
like the Telugu avaru, they, into vdru. The v of eivar, five persons, 
might be regarded as simpjjr euphonic, as a soft consonant inserted to 
prevent hiatus, but this explanation is inadmissible in the case of 

138 THE NOUN. 

ndlvar, four persons, there being no hiatus here to be provided against. 
This var being identical in use with avar, it may safely be concluded 
to be identical with it in origin ; and if var is a pronominal form, an 
abbreviation of avar, may not mar be the same 1 The example of the 
lengthening of ar into dr (i.e., the substitution of the plural pronoun 
itself in an euphonised form for the bare particle of plurality) would 
naturally lead to the lengthening of var into vdr (the origin of the v 
being by this time forgotten) ; and when once mar had established 
itself instead of var, this also would naturally be lengthened into mdr. 
Thus tagappan-mdr would come to be used instead of tagappan-vdr. 
This suffixing of the plural formative to the singular noun, which seems 
so irregular, may be compared with the mode in which the singular is 
still honorifically pluralised by the addition of the plural pronoun — e.g., 
tagappan-avargal, father, and especially with the still more common 
tagappan-dr, forms which, though used as singular, are grammatically 
plurals, tagappan-mdr is invariably used as a plural, but it seems not 
improbable that it is identical in origin with tagappan-dr. 

In this explanation of mdr I have followed a suggestion of Dr Gun-'^ 
dert ; but I find myself unable to follow him also in supposing the 
Tamil verbal terminations mar, mdr, mandr, to be identical in origin 
with the pluralising particles mar, mdr, though I admit that at first 
sight it seems impossible to suppose them to be otherwise. These are 
poetical forms of the future tense only, which do not make their 
appearance in any other part of the verb, and the m they contain will 
be found, I think, on examination, to have a futuric, not a pronominal, 
signification. It appears to be identical with h or v, the sign of the 
future, and there appears no reason why m should not be used instead 
of v or 6 in this instance, as well as in others that have already been 
pointed out. The impersonal future of en, to say, in classical Tamil is 
enha. When the personal terminations of the third person plural are 
suffixed to the root, we find ' they will say ' represented indifferently by 
enhar, or enmar, enhdr, enmdr, or enmandr. The force of the future, 
according to Tamil grammarians, being conveyed by each of these 
forms in m, precisely as by each of the forms in h, I conclude that this 
future m must be regarded as independent of the m of the pluralising 
particle, and the resemblance between the two, however complete, to 
be after all accidental. Dr Gundert suggests that the final dr of 
enmandr, preceded by an, may be explained by a comparison of it with 
tagappan-ar, a form already referred to, and here I am disposed to 
coincide with him. 

We have now to inquire whether ar, dr, mar, and mdr, the Dravi- 
dian plurals of rationality, appear to sustain any relation to the plural 


terminations, or pluralising suffixes, of other languages. It might at 
first sio-ht be supposed that the formation of the plural by the addition 
of r to the singular which characterises some of the Teutonic tongues, 
is analogous to the use of r or ar in the Dravidian languages. In the 
Icelandic the most common plural is that which terminates in r — some- 
times the consonant r alone, sometimes the syllables ar, ^V, ur — e.g.^ 
Tconungur, kings. A relic of this plural may be traced in the vulgar 
English childer, for children. The same plural appears in the old 
Latin termination of the masculine plural in or which is found in the 
Eugubian tables — e.g., subator for subacti, and screhitor for scripti. 
Compare also mas, the termination of the first person plural of verbs 
in Sanskrit, with mar, the corresponding termination in Irish, answer- 
ing to the Doric i^ig and the ordinary Greek /asv. In these cases, how- 
ever, the resemblance to the Dravidian plural ar is perhaps rather 
apparent than real ; for the final r of these forms has been hardened 
from an older s, and the s of the Sanskrit nominative singular is 
hardened in some of the Teutonic tongues into r, equally with the as 
or s of the plural ; whilst there is no evidence, on which we can rely, 
of the existence of a tendency in the Dravidian languages to harden s 
into r, and therefore no evidence for the supposition that the Dravidian 
epicene ar has been derived from, or is connected with, the Sanskrit 
masculine-feminine as. It should also be noted that the Irish mar is 
a compound of two forms, ma, the representative of the singular of the 
personal pronoun I, and r, the hardened equivalent of the plural suffix 
s ; and that, therefore, it has no real resemblance to the Dravidian 
mar, which is entirely and exclusively a plural suffix of the third person. 
There is more probability perhaps of the Dravidian plural suffixes 
being related to the pluralising particles of some of the Scythian 
languages. The Turkish plural suffix, which is inserted, as in the 
Dravidian languages, between the crude noun and each of the case- 
terminations, is lar or ler — e.g., dn-lar, they. Dr Logan says, but on 
what authority does not appear, that nar is a plural suffix in K61. 
Mongolian nouns which end with a vowel are pluralised by the addi- 
tion of nar or ner, a particle which is evidently related to, or identical 
with, the Turkish lar or ler : and the resemblance of this Mongol 
suffix nar to the Dravidian mar, both in the final ar and in the nasal 
prefix, is remarkable. It is well known that m evinces a tendency to 
be softened into n (witness the change of the Sanskrit mama, my, into 
mana in Zend) ; and in this manner it may perhaps be supposed that 
the Dravidian mar may be allied to the High Asian nar. The Tamil 
ileinar {ilei-nar), young pec^le, a plural appellative noun, formed from 
ilei, youth, exhibits a form of pluralisation which at first sight seems 

140 THE NOUN. 

very closely to resemble the Mongolian nar. Nay, nar is actually 
used in this very instance instead of nar by some of the poets, 
and it is certain that n and n often change places. Unfortunately 
we find this n or n in the singular, as well as the plural; which 
proves it to be inserted merely for euphony in order to prevent hiatus, 
and therefore ileinar must be re-divided, and represented not as ilei- 
Oar, but as ilei-{n)-ar or ilei-{n)-ar, equivalent to ilei-('?/)-ar. The 
resemblance of the final syllable ndr, of the Tamil verb enmandr, 
already commented on, to the Mongolian plural suffix nar, seems more 
reliable, and yet that also seems to disappear on further examination. 

Turkish, besides its ordinary plural lar or ler, uses ^ as a plural 
suffix of the personal pronouns, as may be observed in biz, we, and siz, 
you ; and the Turkish terminal z corresponds to the r of some other 
Scythian languages. Thus 7/dz, Turkish, summer, is in Magyar ydr or 
ndr (compare the Tamil ndyiv-u, the sun). It would almost appear, 
therefore, that the Turkish suffix of plurality has undergone a process 
of change and comminution similar to that of the Tamil, and that the 
Turkish z and the Tamil r are remotely connected, as the last remain-"^ 
ing representatives or relics of mar, nar, and lar. 

Though I call attention to these and similar Scythian correspond- 
ences, I wish it to be understood that I do so only in the hope that 
they will be inquired into more thoroughly, and the existence or other- 
wise of a real relationship between them and the Dravidian forms with 
which they correspond ascertained. I attribute much more weight to 
the resemblance between the Dravidian languages and those of the 
Scythian group in the use they make of these particles of plurality, 
and the manner in which they connect them with the case-sign than 
to any resemblance, however close, that can be traced between the 
particles themselves. We should look, I think, not so much at the 
linguistic materials used by the Scythian languages and the Dravidian 
respectively, as at the use they severally make of those materials. 

2. Pluralising Particles of the Neuter. — There are two neuter 
pluralising particles used by the Dravidian languages : — 

(1.) The Neuter Plural Suffix gal, with its Varieties. — It has already 
been noticed that gal is occasionally used in Tamil and Canarese as 
the plural suffix of rational nouns and pronouns ; and that the corre- 
sponding Telugu lu is still more systematically used in this manner. 
Nevertheless, I have no doubt that it was originally and is essentially 
a suffix of the neuter plural. This suffix is in both dialects of the 
Tamil gal — e.g., kei-gal, hands, with only such changes as are required 
by Tamilian rules of euphony. In accordance with one of those rules, 
when g, the initial consonant of gal, is doubled, or preceded without 


an intermediate vowel by another consonant, gal is regularly hardened 
into hal or khal. Thus hal-gal, stones, is changed by rule into har- 
hal. gal is occasionally lengthened in Tamil poetry into gdl. In 
MalayMam this particle is generally gal, kal, or kkal, but sometimes 
the initial k coalesces with a preceding nasal and becomes n — e.g., 
nin-nal, you, instead of nim-kal, in Tamil nin-gal. In modern Canarese 
we have gal-ii, in ancient gal, as in Tamil. The three southern idioms 
are in perfect agreement with respect to this particle, but when we 
advance further north we shall find its shape considerably modified. 

In Telugu the corresponding neuter plural suffix is lu, of which the 
I answers, as is usual in Telugu, to the lingual I of the other dialects ; 
l-u, therefore, accords with the final syllable of the Canarese gal-u. 
The only real difference between the Telugu and the Tamil-Canarese 
consists in the omission by the former of the initial consonant k or 
g. Traces, however, exist, in Telugu, of the use of a vowel before lu. 
Thus, in gurrdlu, horses, the long d is derived from the combination 
of the short final a of the inflexional base gurra and a vowel, evidently 
a, which must have preceded lu. We thus arrive at al-u as the pri- 
mitive form of the Telugu plural ; and it is obvious that al-u could 
easily have been softened from gal-u. Conjecture, however, is scarcely 
needed, for in some nouns ending in n-u, of which the Tamil equival- 
ents end in m, the old Dravidian pluralising particle in gal is exhibited 
in Telugu almost as distinctly as in Tamil. Thus, kolan-u, a tank 
(Tamil kulam), takes as its plural kolan-kul-u, a word cited in this 
form by Nannaya Bhatta (Tamil kulan-gal), and gon-u, the name of a 
species of tree, forms its plural in gon-gul-u. When kul-u and gul-u 
are compared with the Tamil-Canarese forms kal, gal, and gal-u, it is 
obvious that they are not only equivalent but identical. An illustra- 
tion of the manner in which the Telugu lu has been softened from 
gal-u, may be taken also from colloquial Tamil, in which avar-gal, 
they, is commonly pronounced aval; Firdmanargal, Brahmans, Pird- 
mandl. k ox g is dropped or elided in a similar manner in many 
languages of the Scythian family. Tulu, though locally remote from 
Telugu, follows its example in many points, and amongst others in 
this. It often rejects the k ot g of the plural, and uses merely lu, like 
Telugu. It uses the full form kulu more rarely. 

The same form of the pluralising particle appears in the languages of 
some of the tribes of the north-eastern frontier — languages which pos- 
sibly form a link of connection between the Dravidian and the Tibetan 
families. In the Miri or Abor-Miri dialect, no, thou, forms its plural 
in nolu, you ; and in the Dhimal, ne, thou, is pluralised into ni/el, you. 
The pronoun of the Mikir it pluralised by adding li — e.g., na-li, you, 

142 THE NOUN. 

whilst substantives have no plural form. In the Dhimal, substantive 
nouns are pluralised by the addition of galai, which is possibly the 
origin of the pronominal plural I, though this particle or word, galai, 
is not compounded with, or agglutinated to, the noun, but placed after 
it separately. Though it is used as a separate word, it does not seem 
to retain any signification of its own independent of its use as a post- 
position. The resemblance of galai to the Tamil-Canarese gal or 
galu, is distinct and remarkable. The pluralising particle of the Naga 
also is Jchala. 

It is not an uncommon occurrence to find one portion of a much- 
used prefix or suffix in one language or dialect of a family, and another 
portion of it in another member of the same family. Seeing, there- 
fore, that the Telugu has adopted the latter portion of the particle leal, 
gal, or galu, and omitted the initial ha, ga, or Tc, we may expect to find 
this Tc used as a pluralising particle in some other Dravidian dialect, 
and the final lu or I omitted. Accordingly, in Gond we find that the 
plural neuter is commonly formed by the addition of k alone — e.g., nai, 
a dog, naik, dogs (compare Tamil ndykal, pronounced ndygal). The? 
Seoni-Gond forms its plural by adding nk — e.g., neli, a field, nelnk, 
fields. The Ku dialect uses ngd, and also shd, of all which forms k or 
g constitutes the basis. 

k is sometimes found to interchange with t, especially in the lan- 
guages of High Asia. This interchange appears also in the Gond 
pluralising particle; for whilst k is the particle in general use, the 
pronouns of the first and second persons form their plurals, or double 
plurals, by the addition of t to the nominative — e.g., amat, we, imat, 
you. The same interchange between k and t appears in Brahui. 
Though a separate word is usually employed by Brahui to denote 
plurality, a suffix in k is also sometimes used ; but this k is found only 
in the nominative plural, and is replaced by t in the oblique cases. 

When we turn to the grammatical forms of the Finnish family of 
languages, we find some tolerably distinct analogies to this Dravidian 
plural suffix. Compare with the Dravidian forms noticed above the 
Magyar plural in k or ak; the Lappish in h, ch, or h: also the t by 
which k is replaced in almost all the other dialects of the Finnish 
family ; and observe the reappearance of the sound of I in the Ostiak 
plural suffix tl. In Ostiak, the dual suffix is kan or gan; in Samoied- 
Ostiak, ga or ka; in Kamass, gai. Castren supposes these suffixes to 
be derived from the conjunctive particle ka or ki, also ; but their 
resemblance to the Dravidian signs of plurality is worth noticing. 
Even Armenian forms its plural in k — e.g., tu, thou, tuk, you; 
sirem, I love; siremk, we love. In Turkish also, k is the sign of 


plurality in some forms of tlie first person plural of tlie verb — e.g.^ 
idum, I was, tduh, we were, t, on the other hand, is the sign of the 
plural in Mongolian, and in Calmuck is softened into d. Even in 
Zend, though a language of a different family, there is a neuter plural 
in t. Thus, for imdni (Sans.), these things, Zend has imat. 

In those instances of the interchange of t and ^, in which it can be 
ascertained with tolerable clearness which consonant was the one origi- 
nally used and which was the corruption, t sometimes appears to be 
older than k. Thus, the Doric rrivog is in better accordance with related 
words, and therefore probably older, than the iEolian x^vog, the origin 
of l-Titlvog. The Semitic pronoun or pronominal fragment ta, thou 
(preserved in attd and antd), is also, I doubt not, a more accurate and 
older form than the equivalent or auxiliary suffix ka. In several of 
the Polynesian dialects, k is found instead of an apparently earlier 
Sanskrit or pre-Sanskrit t On the other hand, as Dr Gundert points 
out, k sometimes appears to be older than t, particularly in Greek 
— e.g., compare Gr. rtg with Sans. kas. If, in accordance with a por- 
tion of these precedents, where k and t are found to be interchanged, 
t is to be regarded as older than k, it would follow that kal, the Dravi- 
dian plural suffix now under consideration, may originally have been 
tal. I cannot think that the Dravidian gal has been derived, as 
Dr Stevenson supposed, from the Sanskrit sakala (in Tamil sagala)y 
all. kal, the base of sa-kala, has been connected with oX-og ; but el, 
the root signifying ' all,' which is found in all the Dravidian languages 
— Tel. ella; Tam.-Mal. elld, elldm, elldvum (the conjunction um inten- 
sifies the meaning) — if it were related to any Indo-European word at 
all, which is doubtful, would be connected, not with the Gr. oX, Heb. 
kol, Sans, sar-va, &c., but with the Germanic alia, Eng. all.* The 
Dravidian tala, one of the meanings of which is a heap, a quantity, 
would suit very well ; but even this derivation of kal is destitute of 
evidence. The supposititious Dravidian tal may be compared with the 
Ostiak plural suffix tl ; but in the absence of evidence it is useless to 
proceed with conjectural analogies. 

The New Persian neuter plural, or plural of inanimate objects, which 
corresponds generally to the Dravidian neuter plural, is hd, a form 

* Dr Gundert is right, I think, in deriving this word from el, a boundary (Tarn. 
el-vei, el-gei, ellei ; Tel. ella) ; but I am unable to follow him in adding to el a 
negative a, so as to give elld, all, the idea of boundless. The Tamil ellavar, all 
(persons), compared with ellavan, the sun, from el, time, and several related words 
denoting measure, end, &c., lead me to the conclusion that the word elld or elldm, 
all, is used affirmatively, in \t^ natural sense, to signify whatever is included 
within the measure or limits of the thing referred to. 

144 THE NOUN. 

which Bopp derives with much probability from the Zend. It may 
here be mentioned, though I do not attach any importance to a resem- 
blance which is certainly accidental, that the Tamil plural gal some- 
times resembles ha in the pronunciation of the peasantry — e.g., iruk- 
Mvdrgal, they are, is vulgarly pronounced irukkirdha. 

(2.) Neuter Plural Suffix in a. — In addition to the iieuter plural in 
gal, with its varieties, we find in nearly all the Dravidian languages a 
neuter plural in short a, or traces of the use of it at some former 
period, gal, though a neuter plural suffix, is occasionally used, espe- 
cially in the modern dialects, as the plural suffix of rationals ; but in 
those dialects in which a is used, its use is invariably restricted to 
neuters, and it seems therefore to be a more essentially neuter form 
than gal itself. 

We shall first examine the traces of the existence and use of this 
suffix which are contained in Tamil, gal is invariably used in Tamil 
as the plural suffix of uncompounded neuter nouns; but a is pre- 
ferred in the classical dialect for pluralising neuter compounds, that 
is, appellative nouns, or those which are compounded of a base and a 
suffix of gender, together with demonstrative pronouns, pronominal 
adjectives, and participial nouns. Even in the ordinary dialect, a is 
generally used as the suffix of the neuter plural in the conjugation 
of verbs. 

The second line in one of the distichs of Tiruvalluvar's " Kural " 
contains two instances of the use of a as a neuter plural of appellative 
nouns — e.g., dgula nira pira, vain shows (are all) other (things). The 
first of these three words is used adjectivally ; and in that case the 
final a is merely that which remains of the neuter termination am, 
after the regular rejection of m; but the next two words, nira and 
pira, are undoubted instances of the use of a as a suffix of the neuter 
plural of appellatives. The much-used Tamil words pala, several, or 
many (things), and Sila, some, or some (things), (from pal and sil), 
though commonly considered as adjectives, are in reality neuter plurals 
— e.g., pinipala, diseases (are) many ; pala-(v)-in-pdl, the neuter plural 
gender, literally the gender of the many (things). This is the case also 
in poetry in MalayMam. The use of these words adjectivally, and with 
the signification, not of the collective, but of the distributive plural, 
has led some persons to overlook their origin and real meaning, but I 
have no doubt that they are plurals. So also alia, not, is properly a 
plural appellative. It is formed from the root al, not, by the addition 
of a, the plural suffix, and literally means things that are not, and the 
singular that corresponds to alia is al-du, not, euphonically andru, liter- 
ally a thing that is not. In the higher dialect of Tamil, all nouns 


of quality and relation may be, and very frequently are, converted into 
appellatives and pluralised by the addition of a — e.g., ariya (Kural), 
thinc's that are difficult, difficilia. We have some instances in High 
Tamil of the use of a as the plural suffix even of substantive nouns — 
e.g., porula, substances, things that are real, realities (from the singular 
porul, a thing, a substance) ; also porulana and porulavei, — with the 
addition of ana and avei (for ava), the plural neuters of the demonstra- 
tive pronouns. 

The neuter plural of the third person of the Tamil verb, a form 
which is used occasionally in ordinary prose as well as in the classical 
dialect, ends in ana — e.g., iruhhindrana, they (neut.) are. ana is 
undoubtedly identical with ava (now avei), the neuter plural of the 
demonstrative pronoun, and is possibly an older form than ava. It is 
derived from the demonstrative base a, with the addition of a, the 
neuter plural suffix, and an euphonic consonant {n or v) to prevent 
hiatus — e.g., a-{n)-a or a-{v)-a. Sometimes in classical Tamil this a, 
the sign of the neuter plural, is added directly to the temporal suffix 
of the verb, without the addition of the demonst